For Kate, it started with numbness and coldness in her legs that went right down to her feet. After a week, she was numb from her belly button. Despite this, Kate could still walk fine and was not diagnosed until nearly a year had passed.
When Kate started having sensory issues on the left side of her face, including pins and needles in her eye, tongue and lips, she was referred to a neurologist who diagnosed her with multiple sclerosis.
“It takes a long time to get your head around the diagnosis of MS – I think for me one of the most challenging aspects is accepting the things that I can’t change.”
Living with multiple sclerosis is a varied experience, and Kate finds it difficult to explain what it is like for her.
“With MS you have good and bad days, but even on your good days, it’s still there. MS never goes so I’ve felt the presence of MS every moment since I was diagnosed. It’s not always bad – but it’s always there.”
In 2020 when the MS Walk Run + Roll was meant to take place, Kate, like many Melbournians, was in lockdown. On top of that, Kate felt “pretty crappy” from the sensory issues she had been experiencing in the lead up to the weekend. On the day of the MS Walk Run + Roll, Kate and her partner decided to walk in the local park. While they were walking, Kate saw a group of people in red MS t-shirts.
The group were completing their MS Walk Run + Roll. This was a moment that stuck with Kate, because despite being strangers, she could feel the love and support from people she didn’t know.
“Those strangers unknowingly gave me so much strength on that day in Brimbank Park (and who knows, maybe they will read this!)”
During lockdown, Kate was unable to go to the gym or play tennis. These activities are particularly helpful in managing her MS symptoms, so to keep active Kate started running. She started slowly, with the goal of running a 10km fun run.
“I can run 10km now and it seems fitting that my first fun run will be for MS! I can’t wait to achieve this goal while being joined by people across Victoria who are committed to raising money for a cause so close to my heart.”
The money Kate (and you!) raise will go towards helping people living with multiple sclerosis access services, including the MS nurses.
“I’ve used the MS Nurses on call, especially when I was first diagnosed. They have been so helpful and were able to calm my nerves. I also find the MS Australia website to be particularly helpful as it offers up to date, accurate and practical information on relevant topics.”
Every step you take in the Walk Run + Roll is a step towards a future where no one has to face MS alone, regardless of where they are in their journey. This support is essential, especially when you receive your diagnosis.
“Surround yourself with loved ones and don’t be scared to ask for support when you need it. Keep living your life as normal and don’t obsess over all the ‘what ifs’. Stay positive and be kind to yourself!”