When the MS Society launched #TheMay50k, it was the charity’s biggest ever public fundraising appeal to help raise funds for treatment into multiple sclerosis, otherwise known as MS.
MS is a neurological condition caused by the immune system not working properly. Symptoms are complex, varied, and debilitating and can range from balance problems, fatigue and cognitive problems to difficulties with memory and physical disability, which can be life changing. It is estimated there are over 130,000 people living with MS in the UK, and nearly 7,000 people are diagnosed each year.
After her diagnosis, Katie wanted to help raise awareness so others could see the illness does not have to define you and you can go on to live a normal life with MS. She decided to take on the #TheMay50k challenge, which was to walk or run 50 kilometres during the course of May. With the help and support of her colleagues, local businesses, friends and family, she got behind the task to raise awareness and fund vital research into finding a cure for MS.
“A normal day for me can fluctuate quite a lot,”
“Fatigue is an overwhelming symptom. My friends will ask ‘do you want to meet up tonight?’ and I have to think how much I’ve done in the day and whether it’s a good idea or will I be too exhausted? If I’m going to have a night out, then I need to take it easier during the day, otherwise I’ll be asleep by 7pm!
“My friends, family and work colleagues have been brilliant. I deal with a lot of the condition through humour. For example, if I drop something, instead of getting upset, I will make a joke out of it. My new nickname is Calamity Kate! On a bad day, I wake up with blurry vision which then leads on to fatigue throughout the day. The main issue is with my left hand and arm, which suffer from pins and needles, crawling, tingling or extreme pain and numbness. My hands can become tired throughout the day and by the evening, I can have trouble with simple tasks such as holding a book, typing or carrying something.
“I am lucky in a way, to be diagnosed very quickly – from symptom onset to a full diagnosis within six months,”
“The sooner you are diagnosed, the sooner you can start treatment, and the better off you are because MS symptoms can get worse suddenly and, unfortunately, there is no cure for this illness.”
With all this in mind, and never one to be put off by anything, Katie set out to walk 50 kilometres during May.
Her original target was £200 but in just over two weeks Katie and her team had raised nearly £2,000! Taking daily walks with her son, family and friends, in the end Katie managed to walk a staggering 100km and was overwhelmed to raise a fantastic £3,000.
“The Northamptonshire business community has really got behind me and I want to say a massive ‘thank you’ to each and every person who has sponsored me or walked with me and my team,
You can still donate to the MS Society through Katie’s May50K page at www.themay50k.com/fundraisers/katiemacdonald22474/uk