Wow! My mind is still spinning with everything I experienced at the MS Life event which took place in Manchester last weekend. I’m having to refer to all the leaflets I collected to remember what I did!
Fortunately, I’d read the details of the different talks that were taking place during the day in advance. It had taken me a while to decide which of the many on offer I wanted to attend. There were five on at once that I’d have liked to listen to!
So, through the course of the day I went to three talks. The first was on research taking place into myelin repair, by Professor Robin Franklin. He made the whole subject understandable to us non-scientists and, without getting carried away and bearing in mind the timescales involved in scientific research, it sounded like progress was being made.
Later, I attended a session on memory and how to improve it. That involved an overview of an online tool that has been put together by a professor of neuropsychology and is on the MS Trust website at: http://www.stayingsmart.org.uk/.
At the end of the day, when I was wilting somewhat (!), I attended a talk on pain and its management by a specialist nurse in that area. She was engaging and informative. Some of what Donna was saying can also be found in MS Essentials booklet 17: Pain and sensory symptoms. (The MS Society has a booklet for everything!)
In between, my friend, Lynne, and I enjoyed chatting with other attendees and sharing stories. I even met a couple of people whom I’ve previously only communicated with online. Whilst the online community is fantastic, it is always good to put faces to names and to see people in person.
As we wandered through the many varied stalls, we paused to admire a demonstration of wheelchair dancing. It looked fun and you could have a go yourself. Later, we saw a couple of very professional-looking dancers, the woman in a chair and the man not. They danced very elegantly and smoothly together.
The BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) had a stand and gave helpful tips on how to site a bird table in a way that minimises the possibility of making bird sitting targets for cats (a fear of mine as most of our neighbours have cats).
Checking my leaflets, I’ve remembered that I’ve signed up to receive information from Sportability … I’m not sure how I’ll fit any more activities into my hectic (well, severely managed through pacing!) life but I really liked the look of the quad bikes! Watch this space!
I also had a chat to a slightly mad (but in a very good way!) fundraiser, Duncan. Duncan’s wife organises a “ten in ten challenge” – 10 Lakeland Peaks in 10 hours, whilst Duncan, who has MS himself, does his own water-based challenge, one of which has been to swim 10 of the Lake District’s lakes … now, that is what I call a challenge!
There were several stalls with some form of mobility vehicle, one with a wide range of bikes, including a three-wheeled tandem! Another was all about a Mountain Trike, which looked pretty awesome and could take you over rough and hilly terrain, and even sand! I had a go and it felt really comfortable and satisfying to use, and the engineering involved looked impressive. You use levers to pull yourself forward, and the only drawback I foresaw for me (apart from the price-tag!) was that it would be quite fatiguing after a while. Great fun though and nothing like a wheelchair!
I imagine that if you asked any two people their experience of the day it would have been different, as there was so much to do. I wished I’d had time for one of the cookery demonstrations, and I would definitely have appreciated one of the massages! I will just have to come again in two years’ time!
P.S. We also received a free pack of four nail varnishes which I have since been putting to good use!