Picnic day to raise awareness for MS

MS awareness to be a focus on the Central Coast. Supported by Central Coast Newspapers

Colleen Daniels, who leads a Multiple Sclerosis (MS) support group on the Central Coast, has organised a picnic day at Mt Penang Parklands, Kariong, on May 30, to help raise help awareness for World MS Day.

A range of local services will be there on the day to offer information on how they can help those suffering from MS or other neurological conditions.

Providers will include Central Coast Neuro Rehab, All Ability Yoga, Urban Personal Training, Limitless Wellbeing Sanctuary from Coast Community, and representatives from Plan Tracker who will help with NDIS plan management information.

Daniels was diagnosed with neurological disease in 1998, and it was after moving to the Central Coast to be with her husband that she started to lose her ability to walk.

She said she started the support group in Narara in 2019 to help others cope and learn about local services.

“Being new to the Central Coast, and new to disability, I began to feel a growing need to connect with others who had MS, and that is why I reached out initially,” Daniels said.

“I started the group after contacting MS Connect and completing their Peer Support training.

“At the very first meeting, we had 18 people, people I had never met – and all either had MS or a loved one with MS.

“I have since met many more people living with MS here on the Central Coast.

“Despite the COVID pandemic, connections and friendships have been formed as a result of the support group, and that is a very heartening thing.”

MS Australia defines Multiple Sclerosis as a central nervous system condition that interferes with nerve impulses within the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves.

“Scars” from within the central nervous system manifest into various symptoms.

According to the organisation, MS affects over 25,600 people in Australia, with most of those diagnosed aged between 20 and 40.

It affects roughly three times as many women as men.

Daniels said the main message they want to raise awareness about is that there is currently no known cure for MS.

“At a recent meeting of the Narara group, one of our members happened to say that he’d been shocked when speaking to someone that they didn’t know what MS was and hadn’t heard of it,” Daniels said.

“From there, the group decided to take action to raise awareness.

“Because if people don’t know what MS is, they certainly won’t know there is no cure for it, and they won’t talk about it.

“If no one talks about it – if there is no ‘noise’ around MS – it’s not likely there’ll be much push for that cure.

“For our children, for their children, we simply seek to do whatever we can to get rid of MS – it’s probably too late for us long term MS but for future generations, let’s save them.”

The free picnic is BYO food and drink but will include lucky door prizes, a roaming caricaturist, and balloons and face painting for the kids.

Due to COVID, registered attendance is required through the website worldmsdaypicnic.eventbrite.com.au.

Jacinta Counihan

Central Coast Newspapers is proud to promote the MS awareness campaigns on the Central Coast