New online support group for Islanders living with MS
A group of Islanders with Multiple Sclerosis have set up an online support group for people facing the isolating condition.
The Facebook group aims to reach a broader range of MS patients, such as the newly diagnosed, as well as introducing new activities and events across the Island to help tackle the isolation and loneliness that often accompanies MS.
Brading resident Karen Holmes was diagnosed with MS two years ago – and decided to set up the group, together with others, when she realised speaking to others with the disease had provided her with invaluable support.
At just 42, Karen had lost her peripheral vision, her driving licence, her home and a job she loved. The disease has led her to lose her independence and she did not leave her house for nearly a year. Unable to work, she could not afford to rent the bungalow she shared with husband David.
“After I was first diagnosed, I felt I was on my own,” said Karen. “Then through meeting other people with MS, I was encouraged to start volunteering in the MS drop in centre in Shanklin, helping in the charity shop. Although I was nervous at first, it’s been one of the best things I’ve ever done as the people and the support they have shown me has slowly brought me out of myself.”
Karen now helps others learn ways to cope with the day-to-day challenges of living with the condition.
David Loveridge, local network officer for the MS Society, said: “Loneliness is a serious issue that pervades every section of society. But people who live with chronic conditions like MS are among those most at risk. When people are newly diagnosed with MS, they can often withdraw and become isolated but joining a support group and speaking with others who have MS can help you feel less alone.”
The group’s small community is growing so if you are looking to share stories, experiences or just simply chat in confidence to others with MS then head over to Facebook and join the ‘New Generation MSS IOW group’.