MEET LARISSA COOK
5 MARCH 2021
She's already raised more than her initial fundraising goal – amazing! And for Larissa, MS is personal.
“I’m in awe of all the participants coming together to raise money and raise awareness. It’s going to be a great day. It’s nice to know you’re not alone.”
“I wanted to do something this year – to join something meaningful, a fundraiser. I liked the option of the 4km walk, that way I wouldn’t be sore or tired. And, people have been so generous!”
Larissa has a personal connection to MS, as both Larissa and her mum live with multiple sclerosis, so that’s the driving force behind her desire to raise awareness and raise funds for MS.
“Day to day my symptoms can change. I experience anxiety about the uncertainty. There have been times I’ve been great. There have been times where I’ve woken up and can’t see.”
“I lost vision for a month in one eye. It’s always in the back of your mind… will that happen again?”
While the symptoms of MS can be isolating, Larissa’s wonderfully supportive family and friends make a big difference. And, Larissa describes her mum (pictured below) as her “absolute rock”.
“My beautiful mum has MS and I don’t think I fully understood it until I got it myself. She was diagnosed when I was four years old. I've watched her deal with this horrible disease over the years with strength, positivity and an ability to truly enjoy her life and its precious moments.”
“MS is really tough. I just wish I’d known a bit more growing up. Recently, Mum’s been quite well, as her symptoms have plateaued now over the years. She still experiences difficulty walking and an unsteady gait but this doesn’t stop her from enjoying life."
“I’m really passionate about the fundraising, but also about awareness. The general population can’t always see it.
"For example, I don’t have a wheelchair or walking stick, but sometimes I can be expected to do everything a person without MS does.”
When Larissa was first diagnosed, she says the support of MS Nurses was comforting, helping to break through the isolation that MS can cause.
“The wonderful MS Nurses had time for me and were able to talk on that personal level. They use your name and talk about your feelings… you never feel like one person in a long list of patients. You don’t have to explain the uncertainty or fear, the MS Nurses just know.”
“While it felt daunting, I never felt alone. I’ve always been told about different services. It was new to Mum too – everything had changed since she was diagnosed. She was really impressed with how far the information and services had come."