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Michelle O'Donoghue

Healthy Changes for You and Your Family

Overcoming MS Facilitator, Laura Crowder, talks to Dr Michelle O'Donoghue, Vickie Hadge and Ann Halstead about their experiences of adopting healthy lifestyle changes for themselves and their families.

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Webinar summary:

In this webinar, Overcoming MS Facilitator Laura Crowder talks to Dr Michelle O’Donoghue, co-editor of the Overcoming MS Handbook and community members Vickie Hadge and Ann Halstead about their personal experience of adopting healthy lifestyle changes for themselves and their families. In the latter part of the webinar, our panel answers questions from the audience during a Q&A.

Key highlights:

05:44 Living with MS and lifestyle changes.

11:14 Embracing the Overcoming MS Program for healthy living and fertility.

22:02 Overcoming challenges at family events and restaurants.

28:00 Cooking meals and adapting recipes for you and your family.

31:38 Constructing meals in a different way.

33:05 Making meals enjoyable for everyone.

46:13 Don’t sweat the small stuff.

51:43 Paleo Keto diet.

54:50 Keeping a food diary.

57:06 Living a full and healthy life.

Speaker bios:

Dr Michelle O’Donoghue

Dr Michelle O’Donoghue is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a practicing physician in the Cardiovascular Division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2010 and adopted the Overcoming MS Program shortly thereafter. She has lived free from clinical relapses since that time. 

In 2022, Dr O’Donoghue, Professor George Jelinek and Associate Professor Sandra Neate published the Overcoming MS Handbook – Roadmap to Good Health that they co-edited together which provides an accessible overview of the Overcoming MS Program created by Professor Jelinek, including empowering community stories.  

Laura Crowder

After spending 18 years as a teacher and school leader, Laura was inspired to train as a Health Coach following a diagnosis of Relapsing-Remitting MS in 2018. She read Overcoming MS by Professor George Jelinek whilst recovering from a relapse which left her struggling to walk and talk and immediately began implementing the pillars outlined in the Program. Laura attended an Overcoming MS retreat in 2018 which she describes as “life changing” and is an active member of her local Overcoming MS Circle in the South West of the UK.

Since qualifying as a Health Coach, Laura helps people to understand how to implement healthy lifestyle changes into their everyday life, working alongside clients as they create lasting, positive change.

Laura lives in Cornwall, UK with her husband and two teenage children. She enjoys reading, spending time with her family, exploring the South West Coast path and she completed her first marathon in 2023.

Vickie Hadge

Vickie’s first discernible symptoms of MS were in 2006 but she wasn’t diagnosed until 2017. She had made some lifestyle changes in 2006 but when she was diagnosed, she found the Overcoming MS Program and decided to implement more changes to support her health and wellbeing. 

Vickie found the research in the Overcoming MS book refreshing and exciting to read, and it gave her hope that she could live well with MS. Vickie started on a disease modifying therapy to help prevent the progression of her MS, and she continued to implement diet and lifestyle changes to improve her physical and mental health. 

Vickie is currently a volunteer Ambassador for the Manchester, Connecticut Circle in the US, where she lives with her family.

Ann Halstead

Ann was unexpectedly diagnosed with Relapsing-Remitting MS after being referred to a Neurologist by her GP after experiencing sensory symptoms.  Ann started looking at healthy lifestyle choices for people with MS and after doing a little research, she found the Overcoming MS Program in 2016 which consolidated many of the elements she had been following.  

Ann went on an Overcoming MS retreat in 2017 which she found encouraging and informative – as well as having really good Overcoming MS-friendly food! Ann is now a volunteer Ambassador for the Hertfordshire Circle in the UK where she lives with her husband and family. She enjoys cooking and singing in 3 different local choirs. 

The transcript for this episode will be available soon.

This webinar was recorded on 27th February 2024 as part of our Living Well with MS Webinar Series, where we bring together a panel of expert guests and community members who bring to life the Overcoming MS Handbook – Roadmap to Good Health.