When Pearl was diagnosed with MS in 1993, there were no treatments available. None. Since then, she’s seen research transform the lives of people with MS – including her own.
Now, Pearl is determined to help find a cure by leaving a gift in her Will to MS Research Australia.
Pearl’s MS symptoms started suddenly, and without warning.
“I went for a swim before work and kept swimming into the left-hand side of the pool. Then later that day I was talking to one of my staff. She was standing on my left and I couldn’t see her. I walked out right away and went straight to the doctor,” Pearl said.
Back then, little was known about MS and Pearl was misdiagnosed. She was told she’d had a stroke. After getting a second opinion, Pearl learned the truth – she had MS, and her life was about to change forever.
“It was a relief to finally know what it was, but it was upsetting. I sat in the doctor’s surgery with my head in my hands. Then I went across the road to eat, and sobbed for an hour through dinner,” Pearl remembered.
With no medications or treatments available for MS, Pearl had to let the disease run its natural course. Within a year, her neurologist told her she could no longer work.
“Everything was just too hard,” Pearl said. “I’m used to doing things well and kept trying to do everything despite my MS symptoms. It got to the point where my neurologist said, ‘stop work NOW, don’t go back’ – and that was it.”
Pearl also had to give up many of her hobbies. She’d always loved running and bushwalking, but Pearl’s MS made her fatigued and unsteady on her feet. Tap dancing and line dancing had to stop too, in case she had a fall.
Today, Pearl says she can still walk…just. She uses a walking stick and needs to hold her husband Ted’s hand when she’s out and about.
“I have to be careful all the time. I can’t go out by myself anymore. Getting about is hard work,” said Pearl.
MS has taken so much away from Pearl, but research has given her hope. There were no treatments available when she was diagnosed nearly 30 years ago. But thanks to breakthroughs in medical research, there are now 14 different drugs to treat MS – including one that helps Pearl manage her symptoms.
Since her diagnosis, Pearl has been fascinated by MS research and has played an important part in making it happen – with regular donations to MS Research Australia.
She hopes to power research into finding a cure by leaving a gift in her Will.
Pearl says the whole process was quick and simple. First, she and Ted had a confidential chat with the Gifts in Wills Manager at MS Research Australia who gave them some helpful advice on how to leave a gift in her Will.
Pearl and Ted decided to set aside some money for their closest relatives and leave the rest to causes they care about most – including MS Research Australia.
At 78, Pearl isn’t expecting a cure for MS to come within her lifetime. But she’s doing all she can to create a world free from MS – and knows her gift to MS Research Australia will help make it a reality.
“MS Research Australia know what they’re doing – so I know the money will be used well. I hope it helps find a cure.”
If you’re interested in leaving a gift to MS Research Australia in your Will too, our friendly Gifts in Wills Manager Janene will be happy to answer any questions you may have, or download our gift in Wills brochure here.
You can get in touch with Janene by calling 0456 019 758 or you can send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org