This year, MS-UK will be coming to the end of our current Strategy, and right now we're exploring what we should focus on in the next three years. But we need your help to get it right, and make sure that the wider MS community is included every step of the way!
Please take our short survey today and let us know what barriers you face to feeling happier and healthier in your life with MS. Perhaps you feel there is a vital MS service missing? Maybe you believe MS-UK could raise awareness of multiple sclerosis among the general public? We'd like to know your opinions, and use your voice to shape our work in the next three years.
Your voice matters. Thank you for sharing it with MS-UK!
We’re feeling summery at the MS-UK offices as we prepare for our 6th annual Summer Ball on Friday 29 June...that's right, it's tomorrow!
Taking place in Constable Country at the beautiful setting of Le Talbooth, Dedham, over 100 guests are joining the celebrations in our 25th silver anniversary year.
Following pre-dinner drinks on the stunning lawns adjacent to the River Stour, guests will enjoy a three course dinner whilst being serenaded by The Harmonettes, a 1940’s style harmony duo.
A highlight of the evening is the grand auction, hosted by Will Quince MP, when diners have an opportunity to bid against one another for a variety of exceptional treats including; concert tickets, sporting, fine dining, musical and theatre experiences. Prior to dancing the night away, we also have a fantastic raffle. This is only possible thanks to the kindness and generosity of many donors and supporters.
MS-UK are dedicated to empowering people affected by multiple sclerosis to live life to the full, so every penny raised at our Summer Ball will allow us to continue our vital work. We are truly grateful to all of our supporters and hope that those attending have a fantastic evening.
It’s almost time to ‘get the glad rags on’ and in true ‘Strictly style’ …………’Keeeeeeeeeeep dancing!’
This blog has been written by Sue (pictured), who is volunteering with MS-UK this week...and as you can see, Sue has enjoyed the Summer Ball before!
Every year we run our annual 'Getting to know you' survey, asking you to tell us a bit about yourself.
We do this so that we can make sure we are always providing services that really meet your needs, and so that we ensure we are reaching as many different people as possible that want multiple sclerosis information (MS) or support.
In the survey we'll be asking questions all about you - from how old you are to what MS-UK services you may have used in the past. Everything is completely anonymous, and we won't be asking you for any contact details at all.
You can take the survey online up until 5pm today - thank you for your help!
My name is Rosie and I am in my second year of university, I am studying Politics at Leeds. I grew up in a very active family where Mum and Dad encouraged us to play team sports at school, took us on regular skiing holidays and liked us to push ourselves. Although not as athletically blessed as my brothers, I still took part and enjoyed every moment.
Upon arriving at university, hours spent doing physical activity dramatically dropped and by the end of my first year I knew I needed a challenge to get me going again. The Virgin Money London Marathon had always been on my agenda having watched my Mum train and run both London and New York for MS as a child and then more recently witnessed my older brother complete it. My Mum ran for multiple sclerosis for her brother who has lived with the disease for almost two decades…hence why MS-UK seemed an obvious choice for me! So one day as procrastination from some university work, I entered the ballot and applied to a couple of charities that were close to my heart, not really thinking anything would come of it. A couple of weeks later I received a call from Jenny who offered me a place for MS-UK, and I accepted it…and that is how I am here lining up to run the London Marathon!
Upon returning to university, I started my training plan…let me tell you nothing sorts out a hangover like a 5mile run in the cold! All was going well until the end of October when I started to get this searing pain in my foot every time I put it down, having ignored it for a while my friends dragged me to A&E and I heard every runners worse nightmare…you have a stress fracture. So I dutifully spent the next 7 weeks in a moonboot, doing very little and followed the doctor’s advice to the T as I returned to running. I am now well back on track, although I have to take it a little steadier than I would like, I have completed a half marathon in 2 and a half hours. I have three more long runs till the big day and the excitement is building with each week!
Finally, fundraising is going well! I have had some very generous donations from friends and family. My first sponsorship push was to write to all my Mum and Dad's suppliers and ask for donations, and golly were they charitable! Its been a busy couple of months juggling training, fundraising, university, eventing, working and maintaining some sort of social life but I wouldn’t have life any other way!
Thank you to everyone who has supported me and hopefully see you the other side of the finish line!
Well our first make a smile lottery draw has taken place, and here’s the results for Friday 02 March…
Jill Purcell, Fundraising Manager
As my first long distance running event (or running event in general in fact)…I decided that I wanted to challenge myself and run the London Marathon 2018! Fully aware that this is going to be a great personal achievement, I figured to make it even more worthwhile, I would raise money for charity at the same time, so people are not only supporting me with my running but supporting a great cause!
I have chosen MS-UK as the charity which I am raising money for, for the support which they provide to those suffering with multiple sclerosis. My mum, who is also my best friend, suffers from MS and even though she never complains and shows unbelievable strength and fights her illness; I know how it can affect individuals, and it means a lot to my mum that I am doing this with her in my heart and mind, along with others in her position, as my main motivation.
In order to raise the £2,000 I am receiving great support from my friends, family and work colleagues via my ‘JustGiving’ page. I am putting on some fundraising events such as pub quiz in local village pubs, raffles with prizes which have been generously donated including tickets to Ipswich Town Football Club home match and Woburn Safari Park! I am also putting on a fashion show at a nearby M&Co. store (Diss, Norfolk)!
Although I have regularly attended the gym for a long time, I am new to long distance running outside until about November 2017. I have been following a 16 week marathon training programme ‘Beginner to Winner’ and I am very much on track with it all; I have also been attending Spin, Yoga and Pilates classes to help with my training. I am completing Colchester Half Marathon in March which fits in perfectly with my training schedule and again is all in aid of MS-UK!
Now the count down to the big day, and I have ascertained that it will be here in no time at all!
Jasmine Mulley, 24, Suffolk
In this guest blog Jessica Armstrong shares her reasons for running the Virgin Money London Marathon this year in aid of MS-UK...
My name is Jessica. I was born and raised in a small town just outside of Toronto Canada. My partner and I moved to London in August 2016 with the plan to work in another country and travel Europe. When I first moved here I never had any plan to run a marathon. To be honest, I’d never in my life even thought of trying to attempt to run a marathon; the idea seemed impossible to me! However, my career as a Certified Athletic Therapist led me to working in a clinic that specialises in treating runners, many of whom run the London Marathon. I had no idea the hype around the London Marathon. I figured it was just another marathon. Little did I know the next year and a half of my life would be changed because of it.
When I was about 10 years old I remember my parents sitting my sister and I down at the kitchen table. They told us that my Dad had been diagnosed with something called multiple sclerosis. Being 10 years old all I really wanted to know was, what would happen to my Dad? My parents simple answer was, “we aren’t really sure.” I’m sure they tried to explain more, but those are the two bits that I remember most: thinking what is this condition that I could barely pronounce and feeling like it wasn’t that big of a deal because Dad looked normal. Fast-forward 18 years and my fathers’ initial diagnosis of relapse remitting is now secondary progressive. He now faces daily challenges completing tasks that most of us take for granted.
January 2017 I began treating many runners who were taking part in the London Marathon. Some were elite level runners and others were embarking on a journey completely new to them. While their efforts in training were amazing, it was their reasons for running that led me to applying for the marathon. I found it admirable the change they were trying to achieve with their fundraising and I decided I wanted to make a difference too!
It has been the support from friends, family and the Canadian MS Society that have helped to make each challenge my Dad has had to face a bit easier. After learning about what MS-UK does for those living with MS and their families I knew I wanted to run for them!
I’ve set myself a goal of £2,500. I am excited to be hosting my very first pub quiz as my main fundraising event alongside a couple smaller events leading up to the day. A “Guess My Time” poster has proven to be a fun way to get my clients involved in my journey to helping raise funds for MS-UK.
These events along with the tremendous support from family and friends will hopefully help me to reach my goals and help MS-UK continue to make a difference for those living with MS and their families in the UK.
December may feel like it was ages ago, but you may still have a MS-UK Christmas collection box at home and I wanted to let you know how you could send the money in to us before we close the appeal at the end of February!
Ways to donate
Please make your cheque payable to MS-UK and send it to us in an envelope. Just write FREEPOST MS-UK on the front, you don’t need a stamp. Please remember to include your name and address with your donation so we are able to acknowledge your wonderful support for MS-UK.
You can put a donation straight into our bank account if you want to. Please put in your name and state that the money is from a Christmas collection box, then email email@example.com once a payment has been made.
Our bank details are:
Account Name: MS-UK
Account Number: 41623508
Sort Code: 40-23-10
You can make a donation online using our website. Please state that the money is from a Christmas collection box.
Thank you so much! Every penny raised from our Christmas collection boxes helps us support even more people affected by multiple sclerosis (MS).
Jenny Poulter, Events Fundraiser
Wes Javis tells of his fundraising efforts to boost his Virgin Money London Marathon total for MS-UK and offers some tips on getting those all important funds...
Less than sixteen weeks to go! That was the somewhat terrifying realisation that came to me after the indulgences of Christmas. In less than four months, along with so many people with such inspiring stories to tell, I’ll be lining up to run the Virgin Money London Marathon – something that I’ve always wanted to do, and to have the opportunity to run for MS-UK is just fantastic! I’ll be running in memory of my Nan – she lived with MS for around 20 years and was bed-bound for the last 10 years of her life. Despite her cruel reality, Nan was always upbeat, always saw the bright side, and always wore a beaming smile. It is a smile that I’ll never forget and she is the reason I am motivated to take on this challenge.
When I first realised that I’d be running the marathon I pulled together a quick fundraising schedule. I belong to quite a small, close-knit friendship group and three of us are running in London for different causes. Rather than competing in our fundraising we decided that it was in everybody’s best interests to collaborate in our events to maximise our fundraising potential. To date we’ve organised three large events, all of which proved to be fantastic successes and surpassed our expectations!
On 12 August, we kicked things off with a golf day as we knew that after August there would be even fewer guarantees with the Great British weather! We contacted a few local courses and found one close-by which offered great rates for good causes. We negotiated a great price for breakfast and lunch with two rounds of golf – they even threw in a pint of beer per head! The turnout was fantastic and we maximised our income by running a small raffle, and a few competitions including ‘longest drive’ and ‘nearest the pin’. After splitting the proceeds three ways we made a great early contribution towards each of our targets.
Then came our afternoon tea event on 23 September. I’ll be honest and say that we initially came up with this one after scratching our heads about what the ‘mums would like’! The reality was quite different and we needed a bigger room than anticipated after a great response from colleagues, family, friends and even friends of friends. Again, we located a venue that offered us a private room for free and a reduced cost per head. Another small raffle helped us on our way – pestering local businesses for prizes has really paid off and each raffle has raised nearly as much as the events in their own right – a great way to raise extra pennies and to have a little fun doing it!
Our Curry Night on 10 November was our most recent event, and the biggest yet by far! We found a local restaurant. We set it up as a public event on Facebook and once again the response was incredible, on several occasions we increased our booking until we reserved an entire floor! Somewhere in the region of 200 people joined us for what was a great fundraiser. We’d taken deposits, so even the handful of people who didn’t make it on the night contributed to our total. Our third raffle included an iPad, donated by one of our employers, which generated huge interest and took our combined profit on the night to £1,600.
We may look to run a further event in the next few months, but equally we may avoid doing so to give our poor friends and family a well-earned rest!
If I can take any key messages away from the fundraising experience so far, or pass on advice to any of the other MS-UK fundraisers, they’d be:
Colchester Marks & Spencer ended the year with a great finale of fundraising events for us. In December they organised for volunteers and MS-UK to take part in some festive bag packing, and local singing groups The Harmonettes and CO2 theatre group performed for the three weeks in a row in store to get shoppers in the Christmas spirit!
It was great to see how happy customers were for having help with packing their food shopping and gifts, and the singing groups enjoyed entertaining the crowds with Christmas tunes. Over those three weeks, a grand total of £839.06 was collected by M&S in aid of MS-UK – which is absolutely fantastic!
We would love to say a huge thank you to our volunteers, The Harmonettes and CO2 theatre group for giving up their time to raise vital funds for MS-UK. Every penny raised by Colchester Marks & Spencer throughout 2017 will help us continue our work supporting anyone affected by multiple sclerosis (MS), which is a disease of the central nervous system.
Approximately 100,000 people in the UK have multiple sclerosis and MS is usually diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40. MS-UK is dedicated to empowering people affected by multiple sclerosis to make the most of today, and live life to the full, so a really huge thank you to Colchester Marks & Spencer for supporting us to make this possible!