Not all heroes wear capes, but we bet they love to read!
MEET MAGGIE GREEN
“I have come to terms with my bad days and they make me really appreciate my good days.”
Maggie lives in Co. Donegal, with her husband Danny and two wonderful children, Abigail (9) and Conor (8), and their dog, Blue. A dedicated primary school teacher, Maggie was diagnosed with RRMS (Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis) almost four years ago.
“I didn’t know much about MS at the time and it has taken me a while to come to terms with the diagnosis and the changes it has brought to my life.” Maggie was diagnosed quite quickly and was referred to a Neurologist. She began medication, and started to learn about life with MS.
Sometimes I struggle with brain fog and word finding, my memory fails me, and I have no energy. Some days I wake up full of energy and ready to take on the world and I have to remind myself not to overdo it, as I know I will pay the price later in the day. I’m very glad to say life didn’t stop in the way I thought it would.
In March, Maggie’s school - like all of yours - closed. She stayed at home, cocooning with her family and tried to adapt to online teaching. Maggie found herself watching the news reports and worrying about the implications of Covid-19 on her condition, so she reached out to MS Ireland. “The support and advice I received made me feel so much better and, although I still had concerns, I also knew that support was only ever a phone call away.” As a high-risk teacher, Maggie was delighted to return to her class when the school’s reopened at the end of August.
Abigail and Conor are both big readers and they can’t wait to take part in this year’s MS Readathon - they are already collecting donations from their grandparents and aunties and uncles. I’m really proud that my children want to raise funds for such an incredible organisation and I hope many other families will sign up for Readathon 2020, to be part of raising vital funds for the services that help me and so many others living with MS.”
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. Covid-19 has had a huge impact on our children's education. It has also hit charities like MS Ireland hard.”
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.