World MS Day offers an opportunity to explain what multiple sclerosis is, according to a regional community worker for MS Ireland.
Deidre Drowney supports people living with MS in South Tipperary, from a listening ear to referrals, weekly physio and yoga, and aiding the local volunteer branch in a peer support way.
A survey carried out recently showed that 46% of Irish people had little to no knowledge about multiple sclerosis.
The Rock of Cashel will be lit up in support of the condition later today.
Deirdre explains how people can get on board with World MS Day today and its theme “Connections”.
“We have a campaign today, ‘I Am Someone’, so it’s #IaMSomeone, and we’re asking people to, around peak times of 1.30pm and 5pm today, bombard social media with the hashtag #IAmSomeone. So, if it were me, I would be saying “#IaMSomeoneWhoSupportsPeopleWithMS.” If I were somebody living with MS, I might say #IAmSomeoneWhoHasMS. So if people could post that on their social media, maybe with a photo or a little bit about themselves and their connection to MS, in terms of highlighting it.”
A Clonmel woman says this annual day is important for raising awareness.
Alison O’Regan has been living with MS for 21 years and says she struggled with symptoms such as loss of balance, lack of power in her limbs, and blindness in one eye before and after her diagnosis.
Over 9,000 people in Ireland have MS.
Speaking on Tipp Today, Alison shared why having an annual World MS Day is crucial for people who live with it.
“9,000 plus people in Ireland with the disease, and yet, people can look at me and say, “There’s nothing wrong with you,” or, “You don’t look like there’s anything wrong with you.” But it’s important that people realise that, yeah, I look fine, but the next person might not be, and that’s the variation within MS. Just awareness for things in the area. I mean, the branch does amazing work in South Tipp, but there is a lack of funding from the top down, unfortunately.”