Stuart's Story

06 May 2021

I fell ill in the last few days of August 2011 and after 6 MRI scans, a lumbar puncture & evoked potentials test, I was diagnosed with Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis, on May 12th after 6-months full paid leave.

I work for a fortune 500 US company based in the UK, as an international Market Manager. I immediately informed the employer and continued working full time, traveling to China / USA / Mexico / South Africa / all countries in Middle East & North Africa and Europe.

In 2018, the employer changed my place of work to home when I was not travelling instead of driving 45 miles to one of our manufacturing plants. I handed in my company car and they gave me a car allowance, so I got an automatic.

I always wanted a Range Rover and I finally had the chance to get a Velar so it’s a motivation thing, whilst I struggle with RRMS, I look out of my study window and see my car that I can afford because I am working.

During this pandemic my last trip was in Boston, USA March 20. Since then I have been home based in York, doing a Groundhog Day route, OMG!! Not really going out, I am married to a pharmacist, so I did not shield but was worried about catching COVID 19.

In early April during my telephone call with my Neurologist, I was complaining about my left leg dragging and he said try and do more exercise, so I decided to use my concept2 rower, then I saw #themay50k on Facebook.

I thought this was a golden opportunity, I am constantly at home and I can row when I feel active enough but 50Km is a lot, so I need to train. I was an active rugby player and coach, so I knew I could not just turn up on 1st May and try & row.

So far in April, I have rowed 43.037Km. I have raised so far £4250 in 18 days, I have a broad variety of work connections, friends and family. My donations have come from Australia to Canada, Peru to Sweden, so I have achieved a global outreach.

I have always had a half full mentality and since being diagnosed with MS, this has blossomed. I have good humour, positive spirit and been married for 25 years to a pharmacist which truly helps

What I want from my challenge is to:

  • Reach my target
  • Raise money for MS
  • Awareness of MS to the wider audience
  • True empathy not sympathy to fellow MS sufferers
  • A real understanding how awful this disease is

Thank you for reading my blog.