MS awareness-raising event set for Donegal town

Event to be held on May 31st as part of World MS Day

Julie Costello

Reporter:

Julie Costello

Email:

editorial@donegaldemocrat.com

MS awareness-raising event set for Donegal town

An MS awareness-raising event will be held in Donegal town next week.

A major MS awareness-raising event will be held in the centre of Donegal town next Wednesday, 31st May, as part of World MS Day, an annual celebration of global solidarity and hope for the future which this year features the theme “Life with MS”.

The heart of the event will be held from noon to 4pm in the foyer of the Abbey Hotel, where members of the Donegal Town MS Support Group will be offering information about MS and support to anyone affected in any way by the disease. People who have been diagnosed with MS or who have symptoms but no diagnosis are especially welcome to attend, as are family members, friends, carers, and supporters.

“We will be available to answer questions people have about MS both in the foyer and in a private room that will be available for consultations on the day,” said Linda Lyons of the Donegal Town MS Support Group, which organised the event with support from Donegal Local Development CLG and assistance by Foróige.

Also in the foyer will be informational materials and a PowerPoint presentation which explains the different symptoms, both visible and invisible, that can be associated with MS (multiple sclerosis).

Meanwhile, out on the footpath members of the public will be asked to do a lap around the Diamond carrying balloons in the shape of the letters “M” and “S”. “Doing a lap of the Diamond carrying these balloons will symbolise helping someone with MS on their journey,” Linda said. “When people see the balloons going round and round they’ll ask what’s happening and learn that there’s an MS event on in the Abbey Hotel.”

A further highlight of the day will be an accessibility audit of local businesses that young people from Foróige and local politicians including Cllr. John Campbell, Cllr. Tom Conaghan, and Cllr. Niamh Kennedy will be conducting.

“The audit will be asking about accessibility, to see whether people with disabilities are able to get into businesses and move around once they’re inside, as well as whether access to a toilet is available,” said Donegal Town MS Support Group member Jim Sheehy. “It’s not to be critical or to blame and shame, but rather to raise people’s consciousness about small changes that can make their establishments welcoming to all.”

MS is a neurodegenerative condition which is typically diagnosed in young adulthood, between the ages of 20 and 40. Donegal has one of the highest rates of MS in Ireland, with 1 in every 387 people in the county being registered with MS Ireland. The cause of MS is not yet known and there is currently no cure, although medical treatments are available for some forms of the disease and a number of non-medical approaches can help improve symptoms.

Caring, well-informed suggestions and strategies for living with MS are shared among members of the Donegal Town MS Support Group on the first Tuesday of every month at 7.30pm in a private room at the Mill Park Hotel.

For more information about the group or the World MS Day event in Donegal town, please contact Veronica Gillen on (087) 245 9445 or Linda Lyons on (086) 829 7867.