On Sunday I had the privilege of cheering on our amazing #TeamPurple runners at the Simplyhealth Great North Run!
The weather was warm (if a little windy!) as I joined crowds of well over 200,000 people lining the route of the run, right from Newcastle to South Shields. Over the whole weekend around 58,000 people took part in events, from the 5k run through to the Great Tees 10k, but I was there to support the amazing runners taking on the Great North Run in aid of MS-UK.
This was the first year I have travelled North to support #TeamPurple at the Great North Run and I was amazed at the dedication and energy of our runners. It was a brilliant atmosphere and I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who wore our purple running vests with pride.
Every penny raised from this event helps us support even more people across the whole of the UK who may be living with multiple sclerosis (MS). One service we offer is being able to listen to people’s worries and concerns through the MS-UK Helpline and offer lots of information and support at times when it is really needed. Our amazing fundraisers make this possible.
The date for next year is already out – 13 September 2020 – so if you want to join #TeamPurple please get in touch with me to register your interest. I would love to be cheering you across the finish line at this unforgettable event next year!
Events Fundraiser, MS-UK
Having been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in April 2018 I was scared and uncertain of my future. Faced with having to take daily meds and wondering if I was going to be able to walk soon let alone run, I decided to explore treatment options for MS.
With the support of my medical team, I embarked on the Best Bet diet, increased my exercise and started on several supplements. This routine has not only kept me in remission and healthy but I feel it has made me stronger. Post diagnosis I ran two half marathons in 2018 and then was lucky enough to join #TeamPurple in London and completed the London Marathon in April 2019 just one year after diagnosis. I ran for MS-UK because they have helped me with counselling and coming to terms with my MS diagnosis. Running for #TeamPurple also kept inspiring me, as I met so many runners who also have MS and keep going!
Running has become my medicine, I have learned when to push, when to rest and how to fuel my body and I am incredibly grateful to be able to remain mobile and strong. I don’t know if I will always stay like this and I would say I battle with my mental health too to stay positive and focussed. Being a part of #TeamPurple for MS-UK gives me focus and I am so proud to wear my purple running t-shirt with the MS-UK logo on. I feel I am giving back to a charity that has supported me through some tough times.
I was delighted and so excited to be offered a place on this year’s Great North Run team, the first time MS-UK has had a presence at the event. I also managed to recruit two friends Mollie and Beki, Beki who is running her first half marathon too! We are all super excited, our team of eight will meet up for the first time at the event (hopefully) and get a team photo. It is a first for all of us, so watch this space and see our post-race photo. Of course, raising funds for MS-UK is what it’s all about and on the eve of the race we have smashed our team target and we could not be happier! If you would like to donate, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Janet-Taplin2.
MSer Cathy Howard updates us on the next stage of the statins trial
I was up with the lark again and even earlier than my last appointment! I got to UCL Queens Square Institute of Neurology almost an hour early, but I’d much rather be early than late.
A lovely nurse called Sarah took us through to the same area we were in last time and got me my second coffee of the day. She also gave me a Baseline worksheet with questions about how my MS currently affects me physically and mentally.
Dr Nevin John explained the day’s process, went through reams of paperwork with me and I signed five more informed consent forms for sub-studies. Don’t think of the trees!
Then the tests began. The Dr who administered those was very thorough and put me through a battery of sight, memory and manual dexterity tests, as well as a comprehensive neurological test. Records were taken after each part of each test.
I completed another walking test with a mobile phone with the MSteps app attached to my arm.
I had six lots of blood taken by another lovely nurse and a cannula inserted for contrast dye to be given part way through the lengthy MRI scan. I have some anxiety issues with MRIs so my GP kindly prescribed me diazepam as a sedative.
The last part of my day was 45 minutes of MRI scans. I estimate I had about 15 separate scans of varying durations. I was asked if I’d like some music whilst in the scanner, and I thought – well, I was an 80s teenager, so Madonna would be perfect. Although I couldn’t hear a lot of it whilst the bangs, clicks and dings were going on, when there were quieter periods, I was Vogueing (in my head) and being a strutting Material Girl! The technician who completed the scans will let me have a copy of the scan at my next appointment. Yay! It means I’ll be able to discuss it with my neurologist Dr Giles Elrington next time I see him. I haven’t had an MRI since my diagnosis, so I’m quite excited about that.
I was given my statin/placebo with a diary to keep updated. One tablet a night for a month. My next appointment is on 24 September. Bring it on!