Lifeline support

Members of the MS Active Group
Members of the MS Active Group

MULTIPLE sclerosis sufferers say they have been thrown a “lifeline” by attending a support group.

Active MS meets every other Tuesday from 10am-12.30pm at Healthworks in Paradise Lane, Easington Colliery.

The group was formed two years ago, after Healthworks’ neuro-physiotherapy service ended and members wanted to contine to meet as a social and support network.

Carol Tilley, from East Durham Homes, suggested continuing the group, and Fiona Maher allowed the group to use a room at Healthworks for free and members self-fund all their activities.

They meet for a cuppa and a chat and confidential advice and information is offered to anyone living with MS, as well as relatives and carers.

There are also trips out, with members recently enjoying outings to Beamish, a pantomime, South Shields, and Sunderland’s Bridges shopping centre.

There are 12 members aged 24 to in their 60s and more are always welcome.

Mum-of-three and grandmother-of-four Joyce Lovack, from Shotton Colliery, was diagnosed with MS 18 years ago, when she noticed problems with balance and that she was dropping things a lot.

She said it was a relief, but also a shock to finally be diagnosed with MS, a condition which affects the brain, nerves and spinal chord, causing problems with movement.

Joyce, who is married to Tony and uses a wheelchair while out and about, as well as a walking stick while indoors, said: “The group gets us up and about and socialising and stops us from getting depressed and down.

“We want as many new members as possible – we are not just here to socialise, we are here to help anyone who suffers from MS.”

Elaine Grundy, who volunteers with the group, described members as “absolutely amazing” for not letting their often painful condition affect their life and for “just getting on with it.”

To find out more information about the group, call Joyce on (0191) 5264531.