A Donegal woman is taking on a 50km challenge in May to show that you can live well with Multiple Sclerosis.
Niamh McCarron is proof that an MS diagnosis is just the starting point, not the end.
The Clonmany native, who now lives in Dublin, will walk 50km throughout next month as part of the ‘May 50K’ fundraiser for MS Ireland.
Niamh will also be spreading awareness of the condition throughout her journey.
Niamh was diagnosed in 2010, not long before her 30th birthday. Multiple Sclerosis – meaning ‘many scars’ – is the most common debilitating neurological condition affecting young adults in Ireland. It is usually diagnosed between 20 and 40 years of age.
For Niamh, the symptoms began as numbness and a tingling feeling in her right arm and eventually the loss of power down the right side of her body.
“Looking back, I probably had symptoms for a number of years before being diagnosed, they were things you wouldn’t pass many remarks on,” Niamh tells DonegalWoman.ie/DonegalDaily.com.
“It felt like a line was drawn down the middle of me, it got to the point that I couldn’t hold a pen.”
After a number of doctor visits, MS emerged as a possible answer.
“I was sent to a neurologist and diagnosed pretty quickly, because I was in the middle of a massive relapse at the time,” she said.
Niamh has dealt with two relapses so far, but more commonly experiences fatigue and tingling in her leg. Above all, she has been able to continue with her work as a market research operations manager and live a healthy life.
“When you get diagnosed, unfortunately when you hear and read about MS, it’s normally the really progressed cases of people in wheelchairs that you see, you don’t normally hear about the people who are able to continue with their day to day lives,” Niamh said.
MS is often called the ‘snowflake’ disease, Niamh said, because no two people experience it in the same way.
“The majority of people are working, have their kids and families, and unless you are told they have MS, you wouldn’t know.
“Everybody is different, some people can become ill very quickly, but it’s not inevitable.”
In the early days, Niamh gained comfort from being able to call MS Ireland’s information phone line with questions about the disease.
Now, she has become very much a part of the community and writes for the charity’s weekly blog, which is created by people with MS who share their real experiences.
MS Ireland provides a wide range of specialised services and resources on a national, regional and local level and is often one of the first services used by people in the time leading up to or following a diagnosis.
The upcoming May 50k will help fund life-changing MS research and work to improve access to treatments and support people living with MS in Ireland.
Everyone is welcome to join Niamh and MS Ireland in next month’s virtual fitness and fundraising challenge. It can be completed anywhere – on your own in your local area and even in your home. It’s important that we stay fit and healthy during this time so sign up now and help raise funds for MS Ireland and the MS International Federation.
If you would like to donate to Niamh’s May50k please visit: https://www.themay50k.com/fundraisers/niamhmccarron
Or you can sign up or donate to MS Ireland at: https://www.themay50k.com/event/ireland/home
Members of the public with any queries relating to MS are invited to call the MS Information Line 1850 233 233. Open Monday- Friday 10am- 2pm. Calls are strictly confidential.