With COVID-19 travel restrictions easing, my wife and I took the opportunity to take an extended Easter break and visit family and friends in Tasmania. While there, I was able to attend and address a meeting of the North West Tasmania MS Peer Support Group in Ulverstone. It was a privilege to hear their stories – some sad, some heart-warming, all different, all inspiring. Once again, the importance of connecting with community was brought home to me.
In my short time at MS Australia, I have been incredibly impressed by the MS community, from people living with MS, their families and carers, to our supporters and donors, our researchers and neurologists, our MS nurses and allied health professionals and all those who provide services and care for those in need.
On our return home, I was able to call on John Sheather, the Director of the Neil & Norma Hill Foundation in Albury, and personally thank him for the support they have given our research work over the past 15 years. Their dollars, and the dollars provided by other major donors, are a critically important part of our fundraising work. So too are the donations, both small and large, made by individuals.
That’s why I’ll be ramping up my own fundraising efforts this week as part of the iconic The May 50K. And yes, I have been in training, hoping to complete my 50km over three challenging runs, two 15km in length and – if my arthritic joints hold up – a half marathon. I’m dedicating my run in The May 50K this year to my cousin, Claire, to my niece’s partner, and to a young nutritionist diagnosed with MS while working with me at the Heart Foundation in the early 2000s. I’ll be thinking of them on every one of those 50 kilometres.