Thursday May 24 2018 11:00 AM
Have you joined the Kiss Goodbye to MS squad? This week Grace Kavanagh tells us why she joins in with thousands of others for the massive global campaign. It’s all about the Kiss!
MS is a difficult disease to live with. It's so unpredictable and is often described as an “invisible” illness because so many symptoms are felt by the person but not seen by others. As a result, having MS can be really isolating. We can’t always take part in activities or outings because just getting out of bed is a herculean effort. We’re not rude or antisocial - just exhausted, struggling or in pain. This isn’t the same for everyone but that sense of isolation can hit any of us.
When I was diagnosed with MS 12 years ago there was no talk of a cure and with just four disease modifying therapies (DMTs). We’ve come a long way since then with twelve (if not more) treatment options now available. There are advances in biotechnology being made every day. While there is no cure, I like to think we’re getting closer. I see it as my job to keep myself functioning and as well as possible until we do.
That is what Kiss Goodbye To MS is all about. It is a fun, global campaign to raise awareness and funds for vital research and to support people living with MS. The funds raised make a huge difference to people like me living with MS. My weekly yoga class means I have a reason to get out and mix with others and don’t have to spend the day talking to my cat! And it’s good exercise!
A person’s tolerance to a drug and its efficacy can change over time which make advances and new treatments so important. Personally, I have worked my way through four of the drug options on my MS journey. I’m doing okay at the moment but am always on the lookout for what would be of greater benefit to me. Any new developments from MS research could have huge impact on my life and the lives of thousands of others.
MS research is not restricted to pharmaceutical treatment. MS Ireland also funds research projects into living well with MS including projects around physiotherapy and mindfulness being carried out in University of Limerick. I’m a believer in physiotherapy and mindfulness - they help keep me moving, flexible and successfully get through every day
So how can you get involved? You can decide how much time or effort you can spare- know that everything you do get involved with helps and will make a huge difference to the MS community. You can wear red, take a selfie to share on social media using hashtag #kissgoodbyetoms, do a dare or organise an event to raise funds. Visit MS Ireland’s campaign website – www.kissgoodbyetoms.ie for more information on the campaign and current areas of research funding. You can even text KISS to 50300 to donate €4 - how easy is that!?
It is really humbling to see so many people from across the world joining together to help in the fight against MS. For such an illness that can be so isolating, that means so much to all of us with MS! Above all the Kiss campaign stands for hope. We are better together and together we can find a cure.