Members of the Chorley and Leyland MS Group are busy fund-raising to help celebrate its 40th year.
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The group was founded in 1978 to address the needs of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) who live locally, their family and friends who themselves often become carers as a result.
Over the last few months, volunteers have been hosting fund-raising events as part of their goal to raise £4,000 by the official anniversary in October. So far members have reached £3,000.
The group provides social activities, meals out, cinema visits and get-togethers. It offers a home visiting service for physiotherapy, podiatry, reflexology and reiki. The group meets at various venues for hydrotherapy, pilates and seated exercise classes.
For those requiring more personal support, it offers a confidential talking therapy service, as well as help towards funding for adaptations, respite care or specialist holidays.
Volunteering here has woken me up and made me feel useful, rather than useless. I feel involved again and I can sleep better because my mind is more activeSue Struthers
Having MS herself, Sue Struthers, of Clayton-le-Woods, knows only too well the impact it has on someone’s life.
She sought help from the group six years ago and realised she could use her experiences to support others in a similar position.
The 55-year-old says: “I was diagnosed with MS 12 years ago. I have very little use of my legs and I can only walk with a frame and use an electric chair. I have weakness in my legs and arms. From the neck up, I am fine but I have to work within my limits. If I overdo things I get ill.
“I decided to become a volunteer three years ago as I was not working and found myself sinking into a hole. I had to do something.
“Volunteering here has woken me up and made me feel useful, rather than useless. I feel involved again and I can sleep better because my mind is more active.”
Sue splits her time between fund-raising and providing support to others with MS.
She adds: “I love the fund-raising side of volunteering, doing store collections, festivals and working together as a team to raise awareness. The money goes to people with MS in Chorley and Leyland.
“I also provide support to people with MS and encourage them to get out, as it makes them feel much better.
“We arrange summer and Christmas parties at Shaw Hill Golf Club and activities for people with MS.
“We also have a Monday Matinee Club where nine of us see films at Reebok Cinema. We have a great social circle and go out for drinks every third Tuesday. It is great to escape from MS and chat to people who know what you are going through.
“It is amazing what volunteering does for you. It is so important for your own wellbeing and self esteem, as well as other people. I would be lost without it.
“This year has been amazing, as we celebrate our 40th anniversary. We have organised awareness events at the Chorley Grand Prix, Leyland Festival, Adlington Carnival and Chorley Flower Show. Our next store collection will be at Morrisons in Chorley on September 12 and we are looking ahead to our big celebration party in October.
Marion Riley, a member of the Chorley and Leyland group co-ordinating team, says: “Part of our mission is to reduce the effect of social isolation that comes with disability associated with MS. Many of our members will be doing their own personal challenges to fund the ongoing voluntary work of the group.
“Without support from the community, we would be unable to offer the range of social and health related activities that are vital for people facing life with MS.”
Meanwhile, The South Ribble Orienteering Club is holding an orienteering event at Worden Park, Leyland, on September 2, from 11am until 3pm to raise funds for the Chorley and Leyland MS Society. Entry is £5 for a pair of £3 solo. Juniors is £4 for two children or £2 per child. To book call 683072.