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Why I’m confident research could stop MS like mine

Jacqueline Krarup

Pictured above with her family

My son even ran the London Marathon to raise money for the MS Society, and appeared with me in their TV advert!

Jacqueline Krarup is one of over 130,000 people living with MS in the UK. She explains why research is so important to her, and why she believes MS can be stopped.

When I woke up one morning in 2008, with double vision, I brushed it off as a problem with my glasses’ prescription. But, after a visit to the optician and a referral to a neurologist, I soon realised it was something more serious.

A brain scan revealed areas of scarring on my brain known as lesions – an instantly recognisable feature of MS.

Looking back now, I know I’d experienced my first symptoms almost 20 years earlier when I woke up with numbness down one side of my body. But at the time I was working in a demanding job, and didn’t really give it much thought.

I’m confident that research happening today will help confine MS to the history books.

For the first few years after my diagnosis I experienced niggling symptoms, but was adamant I was going to carry on as normal – I didn’t want to make a fuss. But recently MS has become harder to ignore.

About five years ago, I began to have difficulties with my mobility and cognitive processing. Since then, MS has crept in slowly but surely, and I’m able to do less than I used to.

Living with my glass half-full

Around the time I was diagnosed, my sister Yolanda began asking how my first symptoms had felt, and was soon diagnosed with the primary progressive form of MS. What followed was, for her, a very quick downward spiral where she suffered terribly with her fatigue and mobility. She lives over 130 miles away, but we talk every day – about our MS and how we’re dealing with it, but everything else too! We support each other completely.

We both try to live with our glasses half-full, and are incredibly fortunate to have strong support networks. My husband and children are fantastic. My son even ran the London Marathon to raise money for the MS Society, and appeared alongside me in their TV advert!

With the family’s help I’ve taken steps to look after myself. I stopped working, try to eat a healthy diet and get enough rest. I led a very active life before MS, so still try to get out when I can. I’m looking forward to using my new all-terrain mobility scooter – a Christmas present to myself – when the weather is better!

My hopes for the future

When I was first diagnosed there were very few MS treatments. Now, thanks to research, people living with relapsing MS have a range of options that can help. Sadly, the treatments available for progressive types of MS are still very limited, and there are still thousands of people – like my sister and me – without any treatment at all.

Excitingly, research has reached a critical point. We’ve seen unprecedented success in finding treatments for people with relapsing forms of MS, and I’m optimistic that with the right research we might one day see the same transformation for progressive MS.

For me, getting involved in MS research helps me stay positive about the future. I’ve been fortunate to be part of a group of volunteers with the MS Society who help decide which research projects are a priority to fund. This gives me the opportunity to hear first-hand about the fascinating work researchers are doing to help stop MS. I’m even taking part in a clinical trial myself, testing whether a drug normally used to treat high cholesterol could work as a treatment for secondary progressive MS.

I’m realistic with my expectations, but think the next few years will be massively exciting, and I firmly believe that researchers will find treatments for progressive MS. Donations to the likes of the MS Society’s Stop MS Appeal will drive forward that life-changing work and take it to the next stage. While it may not mean a cure for Yolanda and me, I’m confident that research happening today will help confine MS to the history books.

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