Awareness Day

It was a beautiful sunny morning when I set off for Newport and the MS Awareness Day. On arrival at the college I was warmly greeted and offered a complimentary cup of coffee, which I gladly accepted. Although the event was just beginning to get going, I was pleased to see several people already in attendance. The atmosphere was very positive and I browsed around the various stands offering information and advice on a range of different subjects. Age UK had numerous leaflets offering advice and help on many situations.

Island Mobility brought along several types of wheelchairs and scooters and were able to make suggestions of which type of aid may be suitable.Gema Brent was pleased to give information of how a visit to the MS Therapy Centre could improve well-being. Angela Rawsthorn, the continence nurse, had a vast amount of literature available, as did George Millard from Body Stress Release. There were also a large amount of MS Society information fact sheets available. The first speaker was Dr Hakim from the Neurology Dept at St Marys Hospital, who gave a comprehensive insight on the many and varied symptoms that may or may not manifest themselves in an MS patient. Dr Hakim spoke nterestingly about how MS affects each individual in a diverse way, explaining that whilst there is, as yet, no cure for the condition, pointing out that there is a great deal that can be done to alleviate the discomfort and debilitating effects of the disease. Dr Hakim invited any questions from his audience, before leaving the meeting to return to his work at St. Marys. .There was a break for coffee before an increased audience settled down to listen to some facts from Angela Rawsthorn, the continence nurse, who had a comfortable and somewhat humorous way of tackling an awkward subject. We were invited to inspect at close quarters some of the medical devices that can make life more bearable for those who have continence issues. She also offered some general self-help advice on the matter. Questions were again invited from the floor, before we adjourned for lunch. A very satisfying lunch of sandwiches, quiche, pork pies etc., not forgetting some lovely desserts, were provided by the College and paid for by our MS branch. We then had a further opportunity to look at the information stands before the next talk started. George Millard from Body Stress Release told us how he discovered this treatment after suffering an injury which was not improving with conventional medicine. He travelled to South Africa to learn the art and now works at a practise in Newport. The treatment involves a course of manipulation and pressure points on the fully clothed patient. A member in the audience confirmed that she had been treated by George for some time and had found it very helpful.

The final speaker of the day was Gema Brent, who provides massage and
reflexology at the MS Therapy Centre in Shanklin. She explained about the
different types of massage and aromatherapy oils she uses. Her clients have reported to her, they have found the treatments to be very beneficial. Gema told an attentive crowd about reflexology, passing around a 'map' of a foot, showing the corresponding areas of the foot to other parts of the body. These areas are manipulated in order to reset the body's natural stability.

Jane Dollery thanked all the speakers and those on the information stands for their input, the college staff for making everyone so welcome, and the branch committee and volunteers for all their hard work in making the day go so smoothly.
Over the course of the day, there were approximately 75 visitors in attendance at a thoroughly enjoyable and informative day.



Top Gemma Brent
Jane Dollery and Fay Smith
Elaine Morey

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