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5 apps that are perfect for lockdown

Posted on: March 26 2020

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Boredom can really set in when we are unable to leave the house or have visitors. Thankfully, there are a few apps which have really come into their own recently, which allow you to communicate with friends and family, learn new things and generally have some fun! Here’s our roundup. You’ll find these on the App Store or Google Play.

Duolingo

Use your time at home to learn a new language - after all, last year there was a study which found learning a second language increases the brain volume of people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Duolingo aims to help you learn the basics of other languages, and the service also has community features that let you connect with other people who are learning the same language you are.

Houseparty 

Even if you’re in total isolation you can still have a virtual gathering. It’s been popular with teenagers for a while, and now many adults are discovering virtual hangout app Houseparty. The app enables ‘shared experiences’ - games people can play with each other, or screen-sharing services that allow friends to watch TV together or go on dating apps.

Zoom

Zoom is an easy-to-use video chat app on which lots of people can join together. It’s free but there is a premium tier too - though you won’t need it. The free version allows groups to chat for up to 40 minutes, but you can just redial and get another 40 minutes immediately.

Draw something

This app lets you connect remotely to your friends and have fun back and forth. Choose something to draw and watch while they try and guess what it is you’re penning. It’ll make the time pass quicker. 

Musée du Louvre Official App

Have you always wanted to explore the Louvre in Paris? Those plans have to go on hold for now, but you can access the beautiful artworks from the comfort of your own home with your smartphone. The museum’s official app will show you the paintings and you can learn about their history to enrich your mind.

Are there any apps that you’ve found useful? Let us know so we can share them with everyone!

Useful online resources for people with MS right now

Posted on: March 24 2020

sincerely-media-gm2qQPnSJBA-unsplash.jpgWe’ve put together a roundup of websites you might find helpful at the moment.

Our wellness coaches have produced a series of easy-to-follow videos and uploaded them to our YouTube channel. Why not try a few out? You’ll find them here.

Many people with multiple sclerosis (MS) that are taking disease modifying therapies (DMTs) may be concerned that because some medication affects how the immune system functions, they should stop taking it as it might make them more at risk of contracting the coronavirus COVID-19. Professor Giovannoni, an experienced neurologist who specialises in MS and who currently works in the National Health Service (NHS) in England, has shared his opinion on this in detail here sites.google.com/giovannoni.net/clinicspeak-dmt/home

The MS Society has regularly updated information on MS and COVID-19, including the opinions of various neurologists on DMTs. Find it here www.mssociety.org.uk/about-ms/treatments-and-therapies/disease-modifying-therapies/covid-19-coronavirus-and-ms

The NHS’s Every Mind Matters website has practical advice on mental health, including how to look after yours while you have to stay at home, and steps you can take to manage any anxiety you may feel about COVID-19. Find it here www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/

Following the outbreak of COVID-19 across the globe, digital charity and peer support network for people living with MS Shift.ms has launched a 1-2-1 video service for those in isolation. ‘Co-vid Companion’ aims to reduce the isolation and loneliness that can exist during a pandemic by connecting people with MS (MSers) who are self-isolating or experiencing heightened levels of loneliness due to coronavirus. Find it here shift.ms/category/healthy-living/coronavirus

My MS Gym is a movement and mind-set training resource and community for people with MS. You will find lots of safe exercises to do while you are at home www.themsgym.com/

How to stay mentally healthy in self-isolation

Posted on: March 20 2020

toa-heftiba-VE6m3nZALF4-unsplash.jpgMS-UK Counsellor Kerry Trevethick offers her advice

With COVID-19 continuing to spread, the Government has started to implement social distancing. This means increasing our distance from others including avoiding social places such as pubs, theatres and gatherings, avoiding unnecessary travelling and working from home where possible. For people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) and some groups of people, the advice is that they should self-isolate and stay at home for up to 12 weeks.

Whilst these measures are supposed to protect the most vulnerable in our society and slow down the spread of the virus, they can have a detrimental impact on our mental and emotional wellbeing. Below are some tips that may help you manage your mental health during this difficult time.

Nature

Try to spend some time in nature. The advice is, you are currently able to go for a walk if you keep a safe distance from other people. If you are unable to do this then try to get outside – spending time in the garden or on a balcony can be helpful. If this isn’t possible try sitting by an open window and watching the birds and trees.

Mindful activities such as colouring in, guided meditation and puzzles, for example, can help you manage anxiety. There are several apps that can help with this such as subscription apps like Calm and Headspace along with some free apps such as Elefriends and What’s Up? All can be found on the app store on your phone or tablet device.

The news

Limit the amount of time you are reading or watching the news. You may also need to limit your use of social media, as there are lots of negative stories at the moment which may make you feel more anxious.

Keep to a routine. It may be tempting to sit in your pyjamas all day if you are not going out, but a routine can be important for our mental health. This includes regular meal times, setting up a structure for working and getting up and going to bed at healthy times to ensure you are getting enough sleep, along with finding some time for leisure. It is important that you also do enough in the day to stimulate yourself rather than using the time to lie in bed or sleep.

It may be tempting to spend more time in front of a screen, be that the computer, TV, phone or tablet. Make sure you are doing other things such as reading, listening to podcasts, arts and crafts, baking, or doing your favourite hobby.

Keep connected. Just because you are self-isolating, this doesn’t mean that you have to cut yourself off from everybody. Keep connected with your friends and family via phone, email, video call or social media.

Talk about your feelings, anxieties, worries or concerns with friends or family members. If this isn’t possible then try using a helpline such as the Samaritans on 116 123. If you have any worries about how this may impact your MS then call the MS-UK Helpline free on 0800 783 0518 or think about accessing the counselling service.

Lots of people in communities are offering help at the moment, be that going to the shop for you, or for a friendly phone call – if you need the support, please use it, you are not a burden.

Try to maintain a healthy diet and keep as physically active as possible.

Remember that these measures are just temporary, they will pass, and it is important to look after yourself both physically and emotionally at this time.

Guest blog: 5 steps to kick-start mindfulness for your MS

Posted on: January 20 2020

Wellness coach and Director of Work.Live.Thrive Zoe Flint, discusses what you can do to boost relaxation which can help boost your immune and central nervous systems

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The first thing to do is to prioritise relaxation as an essential part of your health. My experience of delivering mindfulness courses for MS-UK, has shown me that very few clients typically think of themselves first. The vast majority are far more concerned about their family and friends than their own wellbeing. Whilst this is a lovely quality, “you can’t pour from an empty cup”, as they say. In order to be there for friends and family, we must prioritise our own wellbeing. There are many practices you can try, and below are my top recommendations for beginning to develop your relaxation practice. Give each a try and see which you enjoy most, set yourself some time daily to practice (like learning a musical instrument, learning a relaxation practice takes motivation, determination and regular practice, enabling your brain to physically rewire itself and prime your mind and body to be able to habitually slip into states of relaxation).

 

1.         Breathe

Probably the most important and effective way to induce the relaxation response, setting time aside to breathe slowly, deeply, and extending the out breath has remarkable effects at reducing stress, anxiety and panic

Try it - Breathe in slowly, filling the lungs completely to a count of 5. Breathe out, slowly and completely, to a count of 7. Repeat until you feel a noticeable sense of relaxation. Struggling? Download ‘Breath2Relax’ at the App store. 

 

2.         Learn Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a brain training meditation practice that originated in Buddhism 2,000 years ago. There is a wealth of research into its effectiveness at reducing stress and anxiety, increasing focus, reducing pain, boosting the immune system, reducing fatigue and increasing a sense of acceptance. There are also studies specific to MS that show a decrease in symptoms. 

Try it - Sit comfortably, in an upright position. The aim is to be relaxed but alert. Start by taking a few slow, deep breaths, letting go of any thoughts of worry, lamenting or busyness. Spend a few moments focusing on the sensations of breathing. Feel the air as it enters your nose; the temperature, the quality. Focus on its journey down into the lungs. The movement of the body and rib cage as you inhale and exhale.  Notice the change in temperature of the breathe as you exhale. Struggling?  Download the Apps ‘Calm’ or ‘Insight Timer’. 

 

3.         Progressive Muscle Relaxation

In addition to producing a feeling of calmness and relaxation, this technique helps you to notice areas of the body where tension is held and can ease headaches, muscle stiffness and bring a fresh supply of blood to important muscles.

Try it - Start with your feet and work up towards your head.  Scrunch up your toes, hold, and release.  Flex your feet, hold, point your toes, hold, and relax.  Squeeze your calf muscles, release.  Squeeze your thighs, relax.  Attempt to pull your tummy button towards your back.  Hold, and release.  Squeeze your shoulders up to your ears, hold.  Let go.  Make fists with your hands, tense them tightly, hold, release.  Clench your jaw, hold and relax. Sit for a few moments, absorbing the benefits of the practice. Struggling? Search ‘Progressive Muscle Relaxation’ on YouTube.

 

4.         Visualisation Techniques

Where’s the place you find the most relaxing? A beach, a walled garden, a meadow, a lagoon? Wherever it is, you can go there in your mind. 

Try it – Imagine the most relaxing place you can, using all your senses – what would you smell, hear, see and feel? Warm sun on your face, birdsong, cool, soothing water or soft grass under your feet? Let your imagination go wild and spend some time each day in your relaxing place.  Struggling?  Search YouTube for ‘guided relaxations’.

 

5.         Fun and Laughter

So good for our immune systems and wellbeing in general, fun and laughter are often little prioritised in our busy lives. What makes you laugh? Can you make a list of films, podcasts, friends, activities and books that make you laugh out loud?  Laughter released pain relieving endorphins and helps us bond with others. 

Try it – Use your list to do something daily that you find fun and induces laughter.  Struggling? Try a laughter yoga class!

 

Uncertainty and MS

Posted on: December 16 2019

Uncertainty post.pngMS-UK Counsellor Rachel Murray reflects on the uncertainty of living with multiple sclerosis

We travel through life with varying degrees of and awareness of uncertainty. We like it when we feel certain - it feels safe - and we don’t like the anxiety and fear that uncertainty can bring – for many of us it feels scary and unsafe.

A diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) and living with MS increases the uncertainty experience! Symptoms can be unpredictable and may or may not be connected to MS. Never knowing when a relapse may come along can be daunting, uncertainty about treatment options and their uncertain long and short term effects, uncertainty about MS in workplaces, MS in family life, and MS in the future.  All of these are thought about through the lens of uncertainty and may frighten and worry us.

Living with uncertainty as a constant companion can be exhausting and frightening but what if the lens is changed so that uncertainty is viewed as an adventure, as a path we did not expect to be on but as we are… then let’s see what’s around the next corner and make the most of the journey anyway. What if uncertainty becomes openness with curiosity and a willingness to see what unfolds. What if we start to welcome and embrace uncertainty because it opens up a different experience and viewpoint? 

What if you meet the challenge of processing and experiencing the journey with MS by choosing the lens of adventure and curiosity over the lens of uncertainty? You may find yourself being surprised along the way.

“Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.” — Gilda Radner

To find out more about MS-UK Counselling or sign up, visit www.ms-uk.org/counselling.

 

3 steps to help beat stress

Posted on: November 06 2019

simon-rae-IGOBsR93I7Y-unsplash2.jpgIt’s National Stress Awareness Day, but we all know it’s important to take stock of your mental health not just today, but every day. 

Stress affects us all at some point and avoiding it completely can be nearly impossible. But taking steps to reduce it and manage your response to it, can be extremely beneficial. Research has shown that it can even help prevent new disease activity in people with multiple sclerosis (MS).

So if you’re craving a little more relaxation, read on.

Meditation

Research has shown that meditation and yoga can reduce stress and cause changes in the brain that allow more stress resilience. Meditation slows the heartbeat and calms the mind, leaving you in a relaxed state. You can find free guided meditations online. Try www.freemindfulness.org/download

Exercise

The role of exercise in helping reduce stress is well proven. One study found that exercise can not only help you manage it in the present, but it can also act as a buffer to protect you from future effects, too.

Personal trainer Dom Thorpe specialises in exercise for people with MS and offers an ‘MS Warrior’ programme online. Visit www.dt-training.co.uk/ms-warrior-programme/

Diet

Pile your plate high with prebiotics, because there is evidence that these feed the good bacteria in your gut, and improve the physiological impact of stress. Prebiotics are fibres found in foods such as chicory, Jerusalem artichokes, raw garlic, leeks and onions. When this fibre is digested by beneficial gut bacteria, the microbes release byproducts which researchers think influence brain function.

Prebiotics were also found to increase the amount of rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep that happens. REM sleep is believed to be critical for promoting recovery from stress, with research showing that those who get more REM sleep after a traumatic event are less likely to experience post-traumatic stress disorder.

Finally, when you’re in need of a snack, you could do a lot worse than to reach for a handful of walnuts. A study found these tasty nuts and their oil may help prepare the body to deal with stress. Other studies have shown omega 3 fatty acids, such as the ones found in walnuts, can reduce bad cholesterol and inflammation markers in the body.

For more information about living with multiple sclerosis, subscribe to New Pathways magazine, your MS magazine of choice.

7 mental health myths busted

Posted on: October 10 2019

Today is World Mental Health Day and our MS-UK Counselling team are looking at common mental health myths head on…

Myths and beliefs about mental health issues can be instilled in us from an early age. These myths and beliefs are not designed to harm – they are passed to us in good faith mainly from parental figures, care givers and the environment in which we develop. These myths are designed to protect us from emotional issues rather than support us. The result is that we learn how to suppress our emotions rather than express them. Here are some common myths we often come across as counsellors with MS-UK…

Myth 1 - Mental health problems are rare

Mental health problems are widespread. According to Time to Change, around one in four people will experience a mental health problem each year and they can affect people from every walk of life.

Myth 2 - I can’t do anything to support someone with a mental health problem

The simple response here is, yes you can!

  • Check in

Ask how somebody is doing. It’s highly unlikely that you will make things worse. In fact, it may be that your relative, friend or colleague needs to talk to somebody and you ask them how they are doing helps them to open up about how they are feeling

  • Listen and try not to judge them

People want to feel heard. You offering a listening ear can often help more than you realise. Try not to judge what the person is saying, even though what you are hearing may be shocking. They are being brave talking to you

  • Treat them in the same way

Sometimes the person may feel worried or feel embarrassed about what they may have shared with you and wonder how you are going to act around them going forward. Try and treat them in the same way as you did before they opened up to you

  • Ask twice

It is OK to ask if somebody wants to talk more than once. It may be that the first time you asked them they didn’t feel able or ready to talk but they feel able to talk now

Myth 3 - People experiencing mental health problems aren’t able to work

People living with mental health problems can hold down a successful job. If one in four people experience a mental health problem each year these statistics suggest that in fact we probably all work with someone who is experiencing a mental health problem.

Myth 4 - People with mental health problems can’t recover

People can and do recover from mental health conditions and recovery means being able to live, work, learn and participate in the community. There is lots of different support and help available to help people recover.

Mental health problems may not go away forever but lots of people with mental health problems still work, have families and friends, engage in hobbies and interests and lead full lives.

These websites offer support:

www.rethink.org

www.mind.org.uk

www.samaritans.org

Myth 5 - People living with mental health conditions are usually violent and unpredictable

Most people living with mental health conditions are not violent. In fact, somebody with mental illness is actually more likely to be a victim of violence than to inflict it. According to Time to Change, the movement working to end mental health discrimination, the majority of violent crimes are committed by people who do not have mental health problems. It also states people with mental health problems pose more of a danger to themselves than to others, with 90% of people dying through suicide having experienced mental distress.

Myth 6 - Young people just go through ups and down as part of puberty – it doesn’t mean anything

One in eight young people experience a mental health problem, according to the NHS’s Mental Health of Children and Young People 2017 report. This statistic is widely thought to just be the tip of the iceberg. You may find it helpful to look at the charity, Young Minds. Visit www.youngminds.org.uk/.

Myth 7 - People with mental health problems are lazy and should try harder to snap out of it

This is not true. There are many reasons why someone may have a mental health problem and being lazy or weak is not one of them. People cannot just snap out of a mental health problem and many people may need help to get better. This help may include counselling, medication, self help and support from friends and family.

Mental health and multiple sclerosis

Depressive disorders occur at high rates among patients with MS and this can have a major, negative impact on quality of life for people living with multiple sclerosis, according to a study. However, counselling can be helpful in finding ways to talk about thoughts and feelings associated with MS.

Find out more about MS-UK Counselling today.

Guest blog: ‘Counselling made me feel cared for’

Posted on: October 10 2019

Julie.jpgIt is World Mental Health Day and in this guest blog, Julie tells us why she took years to come to terms with her diagnosis of MS and how MS-UK Counselling has helped her…

‘To this day I struggle to think about the day I was given the news of my diagnosis. Unfortunately, it was dealt with dreadfully. I was on my own and not prepared at all. The consultant showed me my MRI scan and quite bluntly said the only thing she could think was that it was MS. I could barely breathe but knew I had to try to listen so as not to miss any information. She asked me what I was doing later that afternoon and I replied that I was due to go on holiday with my husband and daughter. She said: ‘Have a good time and try not to think about it too much.’ I couldn't believe what I was hearing, the sheer insensitivity. It took me years to accept my diagnosis and to learn to accept it.’

My diagnosis

‘I first noticed something was wrong around 2009 whilst on a charity walk. After around 40 minutes my right foot felt wobbly and slapped the ground. I didn't take much notice and for the next few years, nothing changed much until one day when I was meeting a friend in town. I parked a way out and by the time I got to the centre my right leg really ached and I couldn't control my foot. I made an appointment with my GP who couldn't find anything much but referred me for physiotherapy. Physio had no effect and when I described the symptoms of weakness, a tickling sensation and pins and needles I was referred for an MRI of my spine. This came back as normal but the consultant decided I should have further imaging of my head and neck and it was this scan that showed the lesions.’

Counselling

‘One day, my MS nurse pointed out that every year I bring up the bad experience I had when I was diagnosed, and maybe I should consider some counselling

‘I had no reservations about accepting help and found it a relief to talk to my counsellor. My first session was comforting and I felt listened to and cared for. I felt I mattered. 

‘The service has helped immensely. I have discovered I am actually stronger than I thought and have learned coping mechanisms for the times that are tricky. 

‘I would say to anybody struggling emotionally not to wait as I did and to seek help. It is available, and any good GP will help, or you can self-refer. The good thing about the MS-UK Counselling service is that the people have knowledge of the disease which makes a huge difference. 

‘I have also found exercise and meditation hugely beneficial in helping with anxiety.’

About MS-UK Counselling 

MS-UK Counselling is confidential and open to anyone living with multiple sclerosis. MS-UK counsellors are registered or accredited with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) with knowledge of MS and its impact on mental wellbeing. MS-UK is a BACP organisational member and our number is 275169.

Register online today or call us on 01206 226500 to find out more.

Guest blog: ‘Someone who is independent, who doesn’t know me but just wants to support and help …’

Posted on: October 10 2019

Adam.jpgAs part of our series of blogs today for World Mental Health day, Adam tells us about his first counselling session with MS-UK and how he felt supported to open up to someone who was completely removed from his experiences of living with multiple sclerosis…

‘I was first diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in March 2018 after one episode of symptoms. After I was told the news I was initially in a state of shock and just remember my wife bursting onto tears. I didn’t want to see or speak to anybody and I just couldn’t believe what was happening.

‘I have four children and all I could think of was them. I had a million questions in my head. How would I look after them? Would they end up looking after me?

‘The biggest feelings were ones of guilt and helplessness. I felt like the diagnosis meant my life was pretty much over and I would be a burden to those I am closest to. The feelings of helplessness were due to the lack of information and the unpredictability of the disease. Everything is a ‘maybe’ as each person is different so it’s a difficult diagnosis to understand and explain to others.

‘I found the information booklets produced by MS-UK and the MS Trust a great way of not only explaining the condition to friends and family but also for me to understand the condition and that the things I was feeling were normal.

Counselling

‘I saw a tweet from MS-UK which mentioned the counselling service and I thought to myself that it couldn’t hurt to try. The idea of counselling did have an appeal.

‘I feel lucky as I have a great support network but it’s hard sometimes when you do want to talk about MS but don’t want the guilt of burdening someone close to you. I did have reservations, mainly because it was a new experience and that unnatural feeling that comes from sharing things with a stranger. Fear of being judged came into it as well, although I quickly realised this was not something to worry about.

‘The first session left me feeling so positive. It was just so nice to have someone really listening. Someone who is independent, who doesn’t know me but just wants to support and help.

‘When we went through the initial checklist of things I may be struggling with, I did have a realisation that some of them were affecting me more than I thought. You do wonder how talking through things will actually help and this is perhaps the biggest reservation, but after just one session I absolutely understood how I could benefit from the service.

‘Counselling has helped me really think about my needs and gave me the opportunity to be reflective in my thoughts about how I interact with people, what I enjoy doing and how to feel positive about the future.

‘This service also helped me feel empowered to talk through some of the anxieties I was feeling living with MS. It really did feel like a journey and I do think about decisions and choices in a different and more positive manner.

‘I have definitely got better at recognising the things I’m proud of now, no matter how small. Using the MS-UK counselling service has made me realise that sometimes the simplest achievements can be proud moments to celebrate.’

About MS-UK Counselling 

MS-UK Counselling is confidential and open to anyone living with multiple sclerosis. MS-UK counsellors are registered or accredited with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) with knowledge of MS and its impact on mental wellbeing. MS-UK is a BACP organisational member and our number is 275169.

Register online today or call us on 01206 226500 to find out more.

Guest blog: 'It’s all for a great cause...'

Posted on: August 02 2019

Photo of David with his Dad
Dad and me

In this guest blog, David lets us know why he and his partner Anne-Marie are taking on the challenge of the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 this weekend, and the incredible journey they have been on to get to this point...

I made a promise to my dad twenty years ago that one day I would do a charity event and raise money for multiple sclerosis (MS). My dad is 83 and had relapsing-remitting MS for 40 years and I have seen first-hand how this disease not only affects the person but also the family. 

So, after twenty years of procrastinating, my partner Anne-Marie and I decided to finally hold true to my word. I was already in the RideLondon-100 so we looked at MS charities for Anne-Marie. Thankfully we spoke to Jenny at MS-UK who was enthusiastic and welcoming and that sealed our decision.

I know a lot of people use charity places as a way of getting into an event they wanted to do anyway but if there was one bit of advice I could ever give someone, it would be to pick a charity that means something to you.

For all those rainy days you don’t feel like training, for all the times your bum hurts (even with a litre of chamois cream slapped over it), for all those times you are halfway up a steep hill wondering why you aren’t slouched on the couch chowing down on popcorn, knowing why you are putting yourself through this makes such a difference to your resolve and dedication.

Training went well until one sunny May afternoon, I had a collision with a car whilst out cycling. The end result was a road closure, ambulance, two police cars, a suspected broken leg, injured back and hand, stitches in the chin and my bike was written off.

Subsequent x-rays and MRIs to my hand and leg miraculously showed nothing broken. By sheer chance, the angle of my knee prevented a far more serious long term knee injury occurring so I feel incredibly lucky.

Nevertheless, I was told I would be on crutches for up to 10 weeks and that all cycle events would be out until September. 

This was devasting for both myself and Anne-Marie.

To put this into perspective, Anne-Marie is not a confident cyclist. She has never ridden on her own so the thought of her cycling 100 miles solo scared her to death. 

She continued to train on an indoor bike in the gym but only for an hour at a time which wouldn’t be enough to get her in shape for a 100 mile ride outside.

She also suffered far more than me after my accident. My damage was physical but Anne-Marie’s was mental. From a lack of sleep due to nightmares leaving her exhausted, from having to be my carer for five weeks leaving little time for the bike, to seeing her partner in almost constant pain, her confidence plummeted.

But this is where choosing a charity that means something to you is so important. Despite all her fears, she knew she wouldn’t pull out. It was too important a promise to go back on.

Anne-Marie after the Tour of Cambridge (first solo ride).jpg
Anne-Marie after the Tour of Cambridge (first solo ride)

After a few weeks of mental turmoil, she made a last-minute decision to try the Tour of Cambridge on her own. A massive feat for her and one I am so proud of her for.

In the meantime, I had been rehabbing for up to two hours a day. I developed a huge admiration for people like my dad who, because of their MS, have to ‘rehab’ every day just to keep mobile and functioning. 

I remember the first day I managed to do a full revolution of a pedal stroke in the gym. It took me 10 minutes to get my leg over the top of the pedal stroke and it felt amazing. Within a week I managed five minutes on an indoor bike. A week later I double that time to 10 minutes and a week later I tried 20 minutes. Each time I felt exhausted and despite the Physio telling me there was no way I would get to the start line of the RideLondon, the prospect of being there with all the other MS-UK riders really made me want to give it a shot.

Despite everyone telling me not to overdo it, I cautiously overdid it and increased my longest ride from 20 miles to 25 to 35 to 53 to 70 miles on subsequent sessions with Anne-Marie always by my side.

At the end of each ride, I felt exhausted and would fall asleep in a sweaty mess.

So here we are today. My max longest ride will have been 70 miles. I don’t feel ready for the event, my hand still hurts but I’ll give it a jolly good bash. I can honestly say if it wasn’t for the importance of the charity, I wouldn’t have tried anyway near as hard on the rehab. Anne-Marie would have certainly dropped out of the event too but she feels a connection to the charity through me and my family. 

Both of us on our first sportive ride since the accident.jpg
Both of us on our first sportive ride since the accident

Seeing the effort families put in to helping their loved ones, seeing the effort those suffering from MS put into daily life means that you can’t help but feel motivated and inspired to put that little bit more into your own daily life.

For those who are reading this who are doing the event, I look forward to seeing you on the start line. I also look forward to seeing you (hopefully) at the finish line.

It’s all for a great cause and the journey has been unexpectedly up and down but also an amazing growing experience for both of us.

Good luck everyone and go #TeamPurple!

David Bint and Anne–Marie Cannon

Visit Anne-Marie's fundraising page

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