A Louth woman who is living with Multiple Sclerosis is raising awareness of the condition ahead of World MS Day 2021 Sunday, May 30th.
The theme for this World MS Day 2020-2022 is 'connections'. The MS Connections campaign is focused on building community connection, self-connection and connections to quality care.
Multiple Sclerosis Ireland will take place to raise awareness and support people living with MS, the most common debilitating neurological condition affecting young adults in Ireland.
Sorcha Boyle, from Ardee, who is living with MS spoke about the need to raise awareness.
'Almost we soon as I was diagnosed, I made a conscious decision to find other people with MS. There is no MS in my family, I am the only person in a large extended family who has it. My local branch in Louth have been fantastic and it is largely down to connecting with other people with MS in my area that I have been able to maintain a positive mindset towards living with multiple sclerosis.'
Sorcha explained: 'I am actively engaged with branch activities and am a committee member. Covid over the past year has meant that our traditional get-togethers and support meetings have been massively curtailed, but we are a resourceful bunch and have moved to online zoom coffee evenings and exercise sessions until such time as we are all able to come together again.'
'On a personal level, I contracted Covid during the second wave, in mid-October last year. I was very anxious, as I had started Ocrevus five months beforehand, in the midst of the first wave, and was worried that my immunosuppressed self would have little to fight it with. Two weeks prior to my testing positive for covid, I had had the seasonal flu and pneumonia jabs, and I genuinely believe these jabs helped me to avoid becoming seriously ill with Covid.' It is now seven months since Sorcha had Coronavirus, and since then she has had her second full dose of Ocrevus and also the first Covid vaccination in March, with her second vaccination by mid June.
'Being able to connect online has been invaluable in these times but I am very much looking forward to seeing everyone again! I have found my tribe courtesy of MS and it's going be fantastic to see them all in person soon, Covid has meant that I've also gotten to know people with MS from other parts of the country too.'
She added: 'Vaccination is our way out of this, I urge you all to get vaccinated, there will be a time when we'll look back on Covid, and be awestruck at how it fundamentally changed the world. We can tell our grandchildren in the future how we all lived through a global pandemic!'
'Happy World MS Day to you all, and I'm very much hoping we will get to have our national conference next year, and keep on making those connections!'
Ava Battles, Chief Executive of MS Ireland said, 'World MS Day is a day where we shine a spotlight on the lives of the 9,000 people in Ireland living with MS, some of whose daily lives have been seriously impacted and altered by the COVID-19 pandemic.'