County Durham woman is changing attitudes around MS

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A COUNTY Durham woman with multiple sclerosis (MS) has documented how she felt “confused and angry” about her diagnosis but now looks at her condition as a chance to make a change.

Rebecca Armstrong, who lives with her husband and daughters Jessica and Alice, and has baby number three on the way, was first diagnosed with the life-long condition in 2013.

Since then, she’s decided to use her diagnosis for good and to support others.

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After trying to make an impact on the regional scene, she has now been appointed trustee of national charity, MS-UK.

“My first symptoms were numbness down one side after a long-haul flight,” she explains.

“This got worse and worse over time and, months later after an MRI scan, I was diagnosed with MS.”

MS is a condition that affects the central nervous system – the brain and spinal cord.

There is currently no cure.

The symptoms people experience vary greatly from person to person and over time.

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Such symptoms may include fatigue, pain, sensory problems such as with vision, cognition difficulties and issues with bodily functions such as speech and swallowing and bladder and bowel “At first I felt confused and angry,” says Mrs Armstrong.

“I thought, why me?”

“But now, I’ve lived with MS for almost ten years, and I genuinely feel it’s given me purpose and I am grateful I get to support others. I get to make a difference, have met some amazing people, and had some experiences I never thought I would, such as speaking at TEDx.”

Rebecca is an HR expert with her own company which helps businesses achieve best practices around equality, diversity, and inclusion.

She also runs a free Facebook group offering support to anyone facing challenges in the workplace due to MS, or any disability or mental health issue.

Becoming a trustee for MS-UK, who supports anyone affected by MS through a helpline, counselling, a magazine and an online exercise and information service, is the latest string to her bow in her quest to help those living with this life-long condition.

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