'We go together...'

Nicky Hartigan was absolutely delighted when great friend Elizabeth Lusty offered to run a singalong to raise funds for Overcoming MS.  “It was lovely to feel supported by a close friend and for her to focus her energy in such a meaningful way.”

Musician Elizabeth Lusty runs a group of non-auditioning choirs aimed at improving well-being and mental health as well as musicianship. Due to the COVID restrictions she adapted her business to be fully online and created VChoir (Virtual Choir.)

As people are no longer allowed to meet in groups of more than six or sing together due to COVID, Elizabeth has found it even more important to bring people together to sing online to help stop people feeling so isolated, to improve mental wellbeing and encourage companionship.

Elizabeth organised a Grease Singalong on Friday 28 August 2020 to raise funds for OMS and to support Nicky. Over 50 people joined the Grease choir via Zoom and were suitably dressed in Pink Lady and leather jackets, and wigs.

The Grease fans sang and danced along to classic hits from the film (everyone is muted other than choir mistress Elizabeth, who does a tiny bit of coaching of melody and rhythm, so it’s very ‘safe’!) with words emailed beforehand or shown on screen. Elizabeth said, “It’s great fun – we had some very dramatic ‘Hopelessly devoted’ renditions. It’s a great way to get people singing, dancing and having huge amounts of fun all for a good cause.” £400 was raised on the night for Overcoming MS.

Nicky’s MS diagnosis came out of the blue shortly before her 40th birthday. At the time she had an active busy life – was a big meat and dairy consumer, didn’t exercise regularly, enjoyed a few drinks, worked as a NHS and private clinical psychologist and had a toddler! She feels her diagnosis was a warning that her stressful life was not sustainable.

She still works full time at HelloSelf, an online clinical psychology practice but now follows the OMS programme and understands the importance of diet, exercise and active relaxation. While she wouldn’t wish MS on herself, she feels her life is better for it in ways, “I realise living with a chronic illness is not the end of the world; it teaches you to have a new perspective and love of life.”

Before her diagnosis she was dreading her 40th birthday and was inclined to say no to new opportunities. Now, she just thinks why not?! At the Grease singalong Nicky even met another OMSer in the ‘choir’ and her absolute favourite song of the night was, ‘You’re the one that I want.’

'Like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong…'

Elizabeth has kindly offered to host a Xmas fundraising singalong for OMS in December so look out for more information. 

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