THE BLOG

We Must Talk About Multiple Sclerosis More

22/10/2015 21:28 BST | Updated 22/10/2016 10:12 BST

Over the past eight years, I've become more educated about multiple sclerosis (MS) from the people around me. First, from my wonderful mum, Sandra, who was diagnosed around 10 years into the development of her MS. Then in 2012 my former producer, Beccy, was introduced to the possibility of MS live on air during one of our shows.

MS isn't talked about a lot, so when my mum was diagnosed, it was a relief at first. I know that sounds awful - nobody wants their mum to be ill, but until she was diagnosed we thought it was a brain tumour. She was feeling numb down one side of her body, and was constantly describing herself as feeling 'fuzzy'.

It was a terrifying time, and when the results came back, we were faced with something that we weren't quite sure of. We knew it wasn't treatable, but it was manageable, and I know my mum's been pushing herself every day since to work around it. Mum was 54 when she was diagnosed, and even then the doctor said she'd probably been developing her particular type of MS (primary progressive MS) for 10 years.

I can't imagine what it's been like for my mum, to be honest. I think as a family we've learned to adjust really well, and her positive attitude is absolutely incredible. She moved into a bungalow this year so she doesn't have to tackle the stairs any more, but she's now just across the road from my brother. That means they can see each other as much as they like, and he's always there if she needs any help.

For my producer and good friend, Beccy, it was even more of a shock. She'd been feeling unwell for a while and I mentioned it on air. All of a sudden, we had texts coming in from people who had MS, or knew people who did, and all of them were encouraging her to go to the doctor. We just couldn't believe it. When the show was over, we made Beccy go to the doctors, and soon after she was diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS. She was just 30.

I don't feel like MS is talked about enough. There are people who still think that it's something that only happens once you're older - to people like my mum - but you just have to look at Beccy to know that's not the case. I think I'm very privileged to have a platform to be able to talk about MS, and if me talking about it in the press makes someone go and get checked, or just generally raises awareness, that's all I can ask for.

The MS Society does incredible work, and it's been such a source of support for my family and thousands of other families across the UK. I'm really happy to be able to support them even further by becoming an ambassador this year, and I really hope that I can help make a difference.

Find about more about the MS Society's Ambassadors at www.mssociety.org.uk/ambassadors

The MS Society has a free helpline for anyone affected by MS 0808 800 8000 or helpline@mssociety.org.uk