The Importance of Living Differently

In September 2012 I entered the Vodafone Foundation Ireland World of Difference competition. This is a programme that gives people the opportunity to work for the charity of their choice for one year. The Vodafone Foundation pays the person’s salary as well as providing training and networking opportunities. The benefit for the charity is it gets an employee passionate and capable of doing the work required. Early in September 2012, after some intensive interviews, I was selected as one of the winners! I am now the Policy and Information Officer for MS Ireland until November 2013.

The World of Difference is all about making positive changes, doing things differently, with an added dash of excitement and creativity to bring about transformation. For many of us diagnosed and living with a neurological condition we are challenged to look at life differently. Life is never the same after those 15 seconds, after being told you have Multiple Sclerosis.

Last February, as part of the Neurological Alliance of Ireland’s lobby day, I gave my personal testimony in the AV Room of Leinster House to an audience of TDs, Senators and people from organisations working for those with neurological conditions in Ireland. Speaking in the AV Room of Leinster House on behalf of other people with a neurological condition was a wonderful opportunity.

This video from the day will give you some idea about what I’m doing and how important it is to be a visible representative for myself and for people with MS in Ireland.

As a person with MS I have had to accept the change in my life; accept the diagnosis of MS. That has meant grieving and raging at what ‘might have been’. It caused me to deal with issues and I’ve had to resolve things I’ve dodged for years. I had to be willing to cast-off the stressful elements of my life before I could move on. Working through the psychological issues you have is vital for your long term health.

I have committed to changing my life, to doing everything I can to inform myself about my MS and working on what I can do everyday for my health and well being. No one else can determine the meaning of your life. There have been, and will be, times when we have to deal with problems we never imagined, when life seems too much to keep on living. I know now that what I felt wasn’t the ‘reality’; it was a very bad time I was going through and I have come through it.

Life and living in the times we do is an exciting, wonderful gift. Sometimes we just need to be reminded about our destiny. It is when we see others achieve their dreams that we are inspired to hope and to realise our own personal power.

Over the years following my diagnosis and living with MS, I have had to dream new dreams, change my perspectives and develop a vision about what I can accomplish. Through dealing with relapses, I am learning to maintain that vision regardless of what happens. Through my work with MS Ireland, the European MS Platform and sharing my vision, I want to encourage other young people with multiple sclerosis to live to the fullest of their being, believe in what they can do and to achieve their dreams.


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