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From darkest moments to greatest. Life after diagnosis

Media Release – For Immediate Release – 1st September 2015

From the darkest moments to the greatest. Life after diagnosis.

Multiple Sclerosis is often thought of as a woman’s disease. It is true that women are three times more likely to be diagnosed but the impact the condition can have on men can often be far greater. Jamie Martin of Auckland was 43 when he was diagnosed with Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis. Jamie was a healthy, happy husband and a father of two and his diagnosis rocked his world in ways he couldn’t imagine.

“Within six months of my diagnosis my wife left me and took my gorgeous two children to live in Wellington,” Jamie recounted. Like many couples and families the effect that Multiple Sclerosis can have on the family was too great. Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic neurological condition which affects the central nervous system. Symptoms can include but are not limited to; fatigue, difficulties with mobility, speech and vision problems, cognitive changes and sporadic or chronic pain. MS is an unpredictable and scary condition and the course a person’s disease will take is unknown.

“Society is conditioned to think that men should be the leaders and breadwinners in the family. When that is shaken by something like Multiple Sclerosis that can be difficult for everyone to understand,” commented Multiple Sclerosis New Zealand National Manager Amanda Keefe. “Multiple Sclerosis and its many symptoms can mean that a person, male or female, cannot work for a period of time, or at all, cognitive changes can be difficult for partners and families to understand and an increased dependence on support systems means families must rethink how they work.”

For Jamie Martin the diagnosis and sudden loss of everything he knew and loved sent him into a 4 year spiral of depression. “I had suicidal thoughts and went through financial ruin. I couldn’t imagine a darker time. Multiple Sclerosis had taken everything I knew and loved and there was nothing I seemed to be able to do. Everything just got worse,” explained Jamie.

“Through the steadfast support of my family and friends I somehow turned my life around and am about to be married in Las Vegas to the most amazingly supportive woman a man could ever meet. Eight years after my diagnosis I can now say my life is now amazing and I live every day to the full.”

“Multiple Sclerosis is for life. With the right support, lifestyle changes whether it be diet and exercise, changing routines, or accessing treatment and information, people can live normal lives, stay in employment and be contributing members to society and their families,” explained Amanda Keefe.

Over 4000 New Zealanders are diagnosed with MS. Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week takes place this week until Saturday 5th September. Please consider supporting MS Organisations to provide support and services to those affected by donating to the regional street collectors or online at www.msnz.org.nz. Or Vodafone customers can Txt2Give, simply txt MSNZ to 7003 to donate $3, 7005 ($5) and 7010 ($10).

MSNZ would like to thank Pub Charity, BNZ and Health Life Media Ltd for their support

END

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