In case you don’t make it to the end of this post: Please support me & Shift.ms by giving what you can here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/geomechsteph-runs
Today is #WorldMS day and what better day than this to tell you about my fundraising run for Shift.ms. I was diagnosed with MS in November 2016 and I have written some posts about dealing with it here & here. However these have focussed on work. This one is more personal. The timing of the diagnosis couldn’t have been worse – but that’s the case for most people with MS since most are diagnosed in their 20s or 30s…just when you’re wondering if you want to have a family, buy a house or if you’re happy with your career…I’m quite a positive person but I did struggle with the unknown, uncertainties and general WTF of my MS diagnosis & I did get help in different ways: I went to counselling sessions, attended a self-management course organised by the MS Society Scotland and I joined Chronically Academic & Shift.ms…and of course my partner, family & friends have been very supportive as well. But let’s focus on Shift.ms & running.
Shift.ms was one the first sites I came across when MS was first mentioned as a possibility during my 10 months of tests, scans and appointments. The site and forum were great to get information and know where to go back to once I had the diagnosis. This community is so supportive and the information available is just great. I also did a
Twitter weekend takeover for the @shiftms account and I have to say this was one the best experiences. I wasn’t sure how helpful my story was since I was only recently diagnosed and I’m not on medication yet etc. But the interactions with the community has been so positive, insightful, informative and just fun. I will definitely do this again.
Peer-support is great but when dealing with a chronic illness being/staying healthy is also very important – so I did some life-style changes. I changed my diet to cut out sugar, processed food (where possible) and started to exercise regularly – this mostly being low impact exercise like swimming & body balance. However, I grew up a runner – I started running when I was 6 or 7 and I did my first 10k race when I was 9. My whole family was running and there were races we all took part in. And actually my dad is currently training for the Berlin marathon in September. For me running stopped when I went to uni and didn’t join a sports club or running team to keep at it. Over the years I always tried to get back into it but normally failed really quickly – always finding an excuse…but I also know how much I enjoy running – it’s a great way to switch off, re-focus and do something fun…so while I’m in Brazil for my 3 months research visit at UFPE I decided to give running another proper shot for 3 reasons:
- I love running – no more excuses
- Staying fit while travelling – you can run anywhere
- Raise some funds by challenging myself – hence the 10k
This is why I decided to raise funds for Shift.ms – positive peer-support is one of the most important things when dealing with something like MS. The feeling of belonging, support from fellow MSers and the overall sense of not being by yourself with this thought or that feeling is invaluable. So to say Thanks to the great work the Shift.ms team are doing and to help build, strengthen and support the community I’m running the Recife 10k on 13th August in aid for Shift.ms.
Please support me & Shift.ms by giving what you can here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/geomechsteph-runs