Kimberley Moore was just 26 years old when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
After living a normal, healthy life, being diagnosed with MS naturally came as a huge shock.
Since being diagnosed, Kim has accessed services from the MS Society, a local charity for sufferers of MS on the Island, and has said their assistance at this difficult time has been invaluable.
We had a chat with Kim about her diagnosis and her plans for raising funds and awareness this summer…
For anyone that doesn’t know, what exactly is MS?
Multiple sclerosis is a neurological condition that can affect your brain and central nervous system.
When you have MS, your immune system mistakes the protective layer of your nerve fibres for a foreign body and attacks it. This damages it and leaves scars known as lesions. This damage disrupts messages travelling along nerve fibres – they can slow down, become distorted, or not get through at all.
MS is complex, and has many symptoms affecting many parts of your body. It’s different for everyone, some of the symptoms are difficulty walking, vision problems, numbness or tingling in parts of the body, problems with balance, problems with thinking and learning and fatigue.
Depending on the type of MS you have, your symptoms may come and go in phases, or get steadily worse over time. I have a form of MS called ‘Relapsing remitting MS‘.
With this form of MS in particular, you may have attacks that can make your symptoms worse, and these are called relapses. An attack is followed by a time of recovery when you have few or no symptoms, called remission.
My main symptoms at the moment are pains around my head, sore legs and arms, weird sensations like numbness, pins and needles and I’m constantly complaining that I’m tired!
Most days I get sharp shooting pains through my legs and sometime down my arms; when this happens I have to take a few minutes to stop what I’m doing or sit down as I need to learn to listen to my body – I find that rubbing them or having them massaged helps!
There is no way of finding out what has caused you to have MS, and unfortunately there is currently no cure.
How did you find out you had MS?
It started when I noticed a strange pain when I was touching my hair around the temple area, it was almost like a bruise and made my eyes water when I touched it. I was also experiencing weird sensations on different parts of my body like my feet felt like they were constantly wet.
After a few weeks I went to the Doctors, as even the smallest things like washing and brushing my hair were painful. I was prescribed all kinds of medication but nothing was working.
After months of countless appointments with my GP and different types of diagnosis, I decided to go down the private healthcare route. I went to see a Neurologist who sent me for an MRI scan. The results showed lesions on my brain. I had a lumbar puncture; which then confirmed I had MS.
What support were you given by your Doctors post diagnosis?
The support I’ve received has been incredible. I have regular appointments with the neurology nurse, just to see how I am getting on and she is there whenever I have any questions – she’s been a great help. I also have check-ups with the neurologist to discuss my medication and plans going forward.
One of the things they have recommended is to lead the healthiest lifestyle I possibly can. I need to make sure my diet is good, which is extremely difficult as my love for food is insane!!
I am trying to exercise as much as I can, so training for the Parish is really helping with that.
How incredible that you’re doing the Parish! At what point did you decide to get in touch with the charity?
Well as well as my physical conditions, one of the biggest challenges I’ve had was dealing with my diagnosis psychologically, and the fear of what the future holds, but this is something I have had a lot of support with.
It was suggested that I get in touch with the MS Society on the Island. They are a charity that amongst other things, raise money for the research of treatments and provide support to people living with MS.
Since getting in touch with them, I have met some lovely people who also have MS and understand what I am going through, this has really helped me and given me the motivation to speak out about my illness and raise awareness.
Along with the professional help, the support from my loved ones has been amazing and I can’t thank them enough for everything they have done to help me get through this time.
And so you’re doing the Parish Walk to raise funds for the MS Society?
Yes! I’ve chosen to do the Parish Walk as it’s such a big event on the Island and a great way of using my legs while I can. I’m aiming to get to Peel, but if I’m able to I will definitely carry on further, that’s if I don’t stop at a chippy!
I will be raising money for the MS Society, my symptoms are manageable at the moment but there are lots of people with MS who would be unable to take part.
Hopefully me taking part in the walk, will do my bit towards raising awareness and funding research that may help others living with MS.
Anyone that knows me will know that I’m not really the most active person. I’m getting out walking 3 or 4 times a week with friends, and I have really been enjoying it. Everyone’s kind donations and with it being for a cause so close to home, are really keeping motivated.
Do you have any other fundraising events planned or mad sporting challenges you’re going to take part in?!
Well! The MS Society has arranged the Wheel and Walk fundraising event at the NSC on Saturday 28th April. The event is open to anyone; those with or without MS and you can take part on foot, with a walking aid, in a wheelchair or on a scooter.
Last year there were over 70 participants, but we are hoping there will be a few more this year. I’ll be taking part with a group of friends, and you can still register, so get involved if you can!
For anyone who’d like to donate directly to Kimberley for the Parish Walk, her Just Giving link is here.
If you’d like to get involved in the Wheel & Walk event taking place next week, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Full poster below.
All funds raised through both events will go directly to the MS Society Isle of Man.