Not all heroes wear capes, but we bet they love to read!
Say hello to Shirley Keane O'Brien
MEET Shirley Keane O'Brien
Shirley lives in Co. Clare with her two children Evan (14) and Lauren (16). Shirley has been through a difficult few years. "I'm very active, I had a love of dancing and running until I began to experience back pain and issues with my right knee." On seeking further medical advice a diagnosis of MS was given. "Following my MS diagnosis, I embarked in a very scary, often frustrating and confusing journey. It took me a while to accept my diagnosis and figure out my next steps".
Shirley then found MS Ireland which was crucial to her. "They were so positive and helpful. They provide different supports as well as really good information". "So, I’m only delighted to help raise awareness of the MS READATHON. I remember it from the kids doing it in primary school. Now I’ll be doing it and loving every minute of it”.
We hope you will join Shirley in taking part in the 2023 MS Readathon.
MEET LORNA CAHILL
Lorna lives in Dublin with her husband Shane and her two fantastic children, Harry (9) and Sophia (7). Kept busy with family life she also works part time with adults who have intellectual disabilities.
Lorna was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis six months after her wedding in 2010. “I nearly fell off my chair when I was told I had MS. The diagnosis was very difficult for me to take, I was the fittest I had ever been, had just gotten married and was about to embark on the next chapter of my life. It felt like my life was over before it had even begun”
Multiple sclerosis is a degenerative disease that affects the central nervous system. Not only can it cause physical disability it can also cause cognitive impairment, something Lorna has experienced herself, with her condition sometimes affecting her memory, concentration and verbal fluency. These are the hidden symptoms of MS that she finds most challenging.
Becoming pregnant with her first child Harry changed her perspective on things. She had far more important roles to play. She was a mother, a wife, a sister, an aunty, a friend and an employee who just happened to have MS. “It didn’t go away, but it was no longer at the forefront of my mind”
After having her daughter Sophia, Lorna had multiple relapses, one symptom of which was that she couldn’t feel her hands, not ideal with a new baby. After a series of trial and errors with different medications, she is now on a drug that really works for her and her MS has been stable since she started taking it.
Having loved taking part in the MS Readathon as a child, she’s delighted now that her children in turn get to take part. “Harry and Sophia know that I have MS and that sometimes I get tired because of it. They are such wonderful children who have helped me so much.
“Taking part in the MS Readathon is something I want to do for Harry and Sophia."
Lorna and her family intend to read as many books as possible in the month of November. They will be part of an amazing group of people raising vital funds for MS Ireland, to ensure that they can continue to provide vital services and support to the MS community in Ireland.
HOW THE MS READATHON HELPS
You can make such a huge difference to the lives of people living with MS and their families. How? I hear you ask. By reading as many books as you can and by raising as much as you can.