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06 June 2024

Volunteers’ Week 2024 at Overcoming MS

For Volunteers Week 2024, we're celebrating our incredible volunteers who support the charity and our global community so more people with MS can live a full and healthy life.

We heard from three of our wonderful volunteers about how they found Overcoming MS and why they chose to volunteer for the charity.

Lorna - Video Editor

Lorna

“I’m Lorna, I live in South Wales, and I started volunteering as a video editor for Overcoming MS during lockdown in 2020. It was a great opportunity to give back to a charity, that really has had a very positive impact on my life in many ways.

“I was diagnosed with MS in 2019, and I will always be grateful for finding Overcoming MS and my amazing Overcoming MS Circle when I was in the process of being diagnosed. It gave me hope when I was feeling completely lost and uncertain about the future.

I think volunteering has also been good for my mental health as I struggle with anxiety. It’s been really good to be able to focus on something positive and at the same time it means a lot to me to be able to give back.”

Jesse - CAG member and co-Ambassador

Jesse

“My name is Jesse, and I live in Toronto, Ontario. I was diagnosed with RRMS in 2020. Shortly after my diagnosis, I discovered Overcoming MS. The Program resonated with me immediately. Overcoming MS was the first time I felt like I was being spoken to about my MS in a constructive and collaborative way. The Program offered evidence-based information for healthy lifestyle changes. The difference with this charity is that it’s always clear that this journey is for the individual to discover what works best for them. Overcoming MS also helped to reinforce the idea that I can be an active participant in my MS and not just a patient taking orders.

“I started volunteering for Overcoming MS early in my journey. I knew I wanted to help support this approach to managing the disease by helping to build up the community here in Canada. In this role, I get to facilitate an Overcoming MS Circle here in Ontario. We’ve grown the community through virtual meetings that just feel like a group of friends with relatable lived experiences coming together on a monthly basis. I also have the opportunity to contribute as a member of the Overcoming MS Communications Advisory Group (CAG). In my role with the CAG, I get to provide feedback and insight to the charity in a collaborative way that leverages my lived experience as an important source of information.

This volunteer work is extremely fulfilling, positive and a meaningful focus in my life. To me, Overcoming MS means helping to build a community of individuals who are informed, supportive and are never alone in their journey. I consider myself very lucky to have this opportunity and to get to contribute in a meaningful way.”

Sue - Ambassador

Sue (far right) pictured with her Hampshire Circle

“I was diagnosed with MS in 1989. Some years later, I was diagnosed with Primary Progressive MS (PPMS) in the absence of relapses. I started following the Overcoming MS Program in 2013.

“After attending an Overcoming MS event in Brighton in 2013 where I met others who were really positive about the Program, I started volunteering informally by getting together with a small group of people to support each other and share Overcoming MS-friendly recipes.

“I was motivated to discover more exciting food and share it with others doing the same, especially in my area. Having been active on the Overcoming MS forum, I used it to ask if others in Hampshire would be interested in meeting. Four of us met in September 2013. We intended to use Winchester Cathedral grounds for a picnic, bringing Overcoming MS-friendly foods to share, but it rained so we ended up using my house instead. It was amazing. We all enjoyed each other’s food and after chatting for a few hours, arranged to meet again. Soon we were meeting every month, in my house or garden. We then became the Hampshire Circle. Now we use the Live Well Hub to organise our lunches! During the 11 years since we started, we have seen many people attending, either for a short period until they’re confident with the Program or popping in from time to time.

“Our lunches are great, and I’m really pleased that we can get together, including new people who join the Circle and want to come along. We support and encourage each other however we can. It’s fantastic to see people living so well despite an MS diagnosis. I would encourage anyone to start or join a Circle and maintain contact with others following the Program. We’re all very flexible. There’s no one approach that suits everyone. Just do what feels right to you and your Circle and Live Well!

Overcoming MS has given me a level of confidence and hope which I thought I would never get back. I also lost the fear that I lived with for over 20 years. I want to support others in following the Program and help them benefit at least as much as I do. I’ve watched the Overcoming MS charity grow and gain influence over the years. In future, I look forward to spreading the word locally among the MS community and helping encourage healthcare professionals to support Overcoming MS.”

How to volunteer for Overcoming MS

If volunteering for Overcoming MS is something you would like to consider, click here to find out more about volunteering opportunities, or email us at volunteer@overcomingms.org