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Coffee Break Episode 24

Coffee Break episode 24: with Lieza Vanden Broeke

Welcome to Living Well with MS Coffee Break #24, where we are pleased to welcome Lieza Vanden Broeke as our guest!  

Our Coffee Break series is your chance to get to know members of our diverse OMS community. In each episode, you’ll join Geoff Allix for an intimate chat with a different member of our global community. Our guests will share their personal stories and talk about their challenges and victories, large and small. We hope you find common cause and a source of inspiration from the stories of these very special people. 

As always, your comments and suggestions are always welcome by emailing [email protected]. We hope you enjoy this episode’s conversation with Lieza, coming to you straight from Christchurch, New Zealand. 


Click here for a full transcript of this episode.


Lieza grew up in Belgium before moving with her family to Christchurch, New Zealand at age 12. In her teenage years and early 20s, Lieza was a competitive equestrian. Because of her studies, she gave up the sport and took up running to de-stress from academic pressure. In 2015, while studying for her PhD, Lieza was diagnosed with primary progressive MS at age 25. In October 2019, Lieza went to live and work in Hong Kong for a year. Thanks to Facebook and a fellow OMSer, this is when her OMS journey began and when she realized that overcoming MS was a possibility for her. Lieza returned to Christchurch in October 2020 and experienced her first bout of optic neuritis. Since then, Lieza has regained her sight, returned to full time work, seen improvements in her walking, and has even made progress with her running.  

Lieza is the OMS ambassador for Christchurch, New Zealand. She wants to make others aware that overcoming MS is possible, just like her friend in Hong Kong taught her in helping her begin her own OMS journey. 


  • Can you describe your life before your MS diagnosis? 

  • How did you find out that you had MS? 

  • What was it like after your diagnosis was confirmed? 

  • How did the pandemic affect you? 

  • How did you discover Overcoming MS? 

  • And so, was it all plain sailing from here? 

  • And so, have things continued to decline? 

  • As a final question, can you describe how OMS has affected you over all? 

3 things you should know about Lieza (in her own words): 

  1. Laughter is so important in dealing with MS, as is keeping a positive mindset. You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, so surround yourself with good people. 

  1. I love travelling (mainly because of the different cultures). Since my diagnosis in 2015, I’ve travelled to China, attended two weddings in India, travelled through India and Nepal, visited my family in Belgium and Lithuania, attended a conference in Sweden, visited Sydney, and lived and worked in Hong Kong for one year. MS has not stopped me from living my life. If you wait for the right time to do something, you’ll be waiting forever. 

  1. I am passionate about sharing my story with other people to help them live a better life. I am just an ordinary person, and I am overcoming MS. One more thing: I love my cat, Albie. 

Lieza’s links: 

Coming up on our next episode: 

Coming in mid-November, the season finale of Ask Jack, our special 5-part series where certified OMS foodie and professional chef Jack McNulty answers cooking- and food-related questions from you, our OMS community. Ask Jack will return in 2022 for more bite-sized answers to your food questions. And remember, you can submit your questions for future Ask Jack episodes by emailing them to [email protected]

Don’t miss out: 

Subscribe to this podcast and never miss an episode. You can catch any episode of Living Well with MS here or on your favorite podcast listening app. Don’t be shy – if you like the program, leave a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you tune into the show. And feel free to share your comments and suggestions by emailing [email protected]