A diagnosis with a neurological condition such as Multiple Sclerosis can turn lives upside down for both the individual and their family. Every week the Merlin MS Centre provides therapy and support to over 100 families both at the Centre and at Outreach services in the community.
Here we share how the Merlin MS Centre is making a real difference.
Karen Stephen worked as a GP Receptionist and Phlebotomist for many years before moving to Cornwall 11 years ago. She has been a supporter of the Merlin MS Centre since 2011, attending various fundraising events. In 2013, after years of dealing with a variety of unexplained symptoms, she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and went from supporter to service user.
Just days before having a cancerous kidney removed in 2014, Angela received the devastating blow of being diagnosed with Progressive Multiple Sclerosis; she was 53. Angela originally came to the Centre after hearing about the benefits oxygen therapy could have for her severe fatigue, caused by MS. After her initial induction which included a tour of the Centre facilities, she decided that physiotherapy could also be beneficial to her.
As a young woman Karen had two ambitions in life - she wanted to dedicate her life to nursing and to live in a cottage in the close-knit community of Charlestown she achieved both, but aged in 2003 at just 33 her life sadly changed when she was diagnosed with Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. Karen was both a service user and avid fundraiser for the charity. Karen passed away in March 2014, aged 44, after living with the condition for more than 11 years.
Former construction worker Mick, 70, spent his working life in physically demanding jobs including working as a steel worker, concrete builder and roofing specialist in his hometown of Banbury in Oxfordshire until his life dramatically changed in 1995. The first sign anything was wrong was when he started getting blurred vision. He was advised by his optician to go to hospital - further tests, including an MRI scan, confirmed a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis in 1995.
Martin and Bev met while working together in 1997. Martin had already been living with MS for two years after his diagnosis in 1995 at aged just 25. In 2000 Martin’s condition meant he became reliant on the use of a wheelchair and for the young couple, who married in the same year, this became very isolating. The couple have two teenage children and are regular faces at the Centre. As well as being Martin's main carer, Bev has raised nearly £40,000 for the charity through her Merlin MS Centre Selling Page on Facebook.
80 year old Stuart attends Day Respite at the Centre, he was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia in 2013. He was later diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and type 2 Diabetes.Poor mobility, vision and balance affects Stuart daily, this increases his anxiety and leaves him feeling confused and frustrated that he is unable to do the things he use to. The Respite team tailor activities for Stuart around his passion for gardening, bird watching and classic cars, providing activities which focus on his interests means Stuart is more relaxed during his time at the Centre.