Alice Marwick – my story
After 10 years of mysterious chronic fatigue, a few other unexplained symptoms, and finally, a full relapse at the end of summer 2020, in January 2021 I was diagnosed with Relapsing Remitting MS. While it was a relief to have answers at long last, I felt fearful as I learned more about the illness. Due to various ongoing symptoms, I was unsure if I’d be able to keep working, which I felt some grief about. It was a difficult time but finding Overcoming MS, while researching online a few days after my diagnosis, was the best thing that could have happened.
I studied graphic design at the University of the Arts London and now work as a designer of book covers. “It’s brilliant to have ended up specialising in something that allows me to be an illustrator as well as a designer. I draw, I make things... I’ve even ended up potato printing for book covers!”
Working to a brief has its constraints and I don’t have time to do much of my own work. My personal creativity ends up coming out when I make cards for loved ones. I’ve always loved making intricate papercut images. Each flower (design below) is cut from paper with a scalpel and then stuck together to form a papery bouquet.
My mum, Anne Marwick, has Secondary Progressive MS. Discovering OMS has given me extra hope for my mother’s wellbeing, too. I’m so glad she’s on board and that we can do this together.
Anne Marwick – my story
I trained as an illustrator, but after a few years realised that painting is what I really wanted to do. Colour and texture are integral to my work. Weaving paper strips allows me to bring these properties together. Each piece is an experiment where I allow the weaving to have its own life. Using a more abstract way of working means I can express my internal world of emotions.
With this piece, Catherine Wheel, I wanted to express something joyous and colourful. I incorporated a weaving technique to make it slightly 3D in addition to using gouache paint and oil pastel.
I was diagnosed with MS in 2005, and 16 years later my daughter, Alice, was diagnosed with MS. Upon discovering OMS, we have both been following the recommendations. Following the program wasn’t such a stretch for me because, although I hadn’t heard of OMS, since diagnosis I had developed habits that unknowingly correlated with some of the recommendations, such as meditation, avoiding dairy, exercise and supplementing with vitamin D. All of this has helped me to cope and live a full life. My painting practice has also been hugely important, and I feel very lucky that I’m able to do it at home.
OMS’s impact on Alice
I don’t know where I’d be without the hope and sense of agency OMS gives me. I read the Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis book and was fascinated to read about how and why the program works. I now have a meditation habit that I enjoys and rely on - resting my brain in the middle of the day is essential. After a shaky start (getting to grips with the new diet during lockdown when I was avoiding shops and accidently accidentally ordering 5 kilos of carrots!), I am enjoying cooking and eating more than ever. My rule that I have to either walk or do yoga every day (however short and gentle) is working well. With reduced hours and some new computer equipment, I am still working as a designer.
You can purchase e-cards through Don’t Send Me a Card featuring designs by Alice, Anne, and other 'OMSers'. All donations benefit the Overcoming MS goal of informing, supporting and empowering people affected by MS worldwide.
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