Last week, on Saturday 7th 2018 I once again had the pleasure of speaking to newly diagnosed patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in Greater Manchester.
It is a speaking engagement that I fulfil a couple of times a year at the invitation of the NHS.
The event, called, Getting to Grips is organised by the medical professionals of Salford Royal Foundation Trust, which is a centre of excellence for MS in the North. It is an information day for people diagnosed with MS and those affected by MS. They receive talks and presentations from Consultants Neurologists, MS Specialist Nurses, Physiotherapists, Well-being coaches and myself.
The aim of my talk is to conclude the day on a positive/inspirational note. I speak to those attending and talk about my own journey with MS. I mention life before diagnosis, experience of diagnosis and most importantly I talk about the events that lead to me founding the organisation, Positive About MS.
Positive About MS is an organisation dedicated to taking and can do and positive approach to MS. I founded it in 2011, after noticing that the information available to people with MS was very negative and talked about the condition in a way that takes away any hope and ambition the person with MS. I didn't think this was the right approach, nor was it fair and I decided that people affected by MS should also be encouraged to take a more positive approach, therefore adding some balance to the information available.
Thankfully my talk is always well received and feedback very positive and it is a speaking engagement that I always look forward to for a number of reasons. In addition to sharing my experiences and having the opportunity have a positive impact on the lives of people affected by MS, it also gave me the opportunity to raise awareness of what Positive Abut MS does and how people diagnosed with MS can still have a career and something they can work towards.
I talk about how, even after I was retired on ill-health grounds by my employer and told that there was no possibilities of being able to work again, I didn't accept this. I stuck to what I was good at and used the skills I had, the technology avail;able to me and my determination to setup my own digital marketing agency, Soc-Med: Social Media. This was because my academic background was ,marketing and at the time there was a new phenomena called social media, which I enjoyed using and was the platform I used to launch Positive About MS. So, together with my marketing background and years of use of social media, resulted in me becoming interested and having the ability to establish myself as a social media marketeer.
The aim is to tell people that MS doesn't mean their life ends nor does it mean they have to stop dreaming and having hopes and ambitions. I want people to have a can do mindset.
Yes, there will be things they can't do and things that may get more difficult with time. However, there will be things they can do and that's what they should focus on!
These articles are ones that I have written regarding my activities and experiences.