Soulla and family smile to camera

The MS Society volunteers are angels

Soulla’s son Chris has MS. Thanks to their local MS Society group they have the help and support they need.

How Chris was diagnosed with MS

We’re all immensely proud of Chris and the things he's achieved, and still strives to achieve in the most difficult of circumstances. But it is a tough road. Every day there’s a struggle where he needs to dust himself down and start again. We come from a Greek Orthodox background, and we just praise the Lord that it’s no worse. But it is hard. You feel like you’ve been robbed.

Chris started getting symptoms when he was 18, but we all put it down to teenage stress. Being an active person, he travelled the world as cabin crew with Virgin Airlines for 5 years. Later, he decided to return to his earlier trade of hairdressing, working his way up to management and opening loads of branches for his company.

But in the summer of 2007 the numbness and tingling in his feet made it difficult to walk, and he started getting double vision. After a night in A and E with his dad, the doctors told them they suspected it was MS. Neither of them had any idea of what MS was, but were thankful to have the hope of being able to treat it.

Despite treatment, Chris had three relapses which now means he needs a walking frame and mobility scooter to get around.

Finding the MS Society volunteers

This is where the impact of the MS Society comes in. When Chris was diagnosed we were so lost, scared, upset, lonely, and on our own. There were so many emotions. I remember asking the MS nurse, are we a ticking time bomb? Is Chris going to get worse? She couldn’t answer. But she put me in touch with Tony, a volunteer at the MS Society Sutton group.

The group helped me realise that there is hope. There really is. I truly believe that without the help of my local group, my son wouldn't have confidence he has today.

These angels have been there for all of us with advice, comfort, and loads of activities. Whenever you need them, they are there.

Going that extra mile every time

Chris is a really sociable person, so before the coronavirus lockdown started properly, he was going out. But volunteer Alistair saw him and called to say, look, with your MS medication it’s really important that you stay in. That’s the kind of advice that you need.

Over the last 10 years Chris has also received financial help from the group to buy equipment for his health and mobility. The scooter has allowed him to travel and given him a greater sense of freedom. There’s also FES, which is an electronic belt he fastens below his left knee. This massively helps with the drop foot and allows him to lift his leg without tripping.

Why volunteer?

If you can volunteer, then you should do it, because the rewards are big. Seeing the satisfaction on somebody’s face, or hearing that your help has made that person feel just that little bit better. It’s worth its weight in gold.

Thank you Sutton MS Society Group. Be safe, we need you!

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