Who am I?
I’m Vicky Edwards and MS has changed my life, oddly and yet profoundly for the better.
I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 2010, I was shocked and yet relieved to understand what had been happening to me for such a long while.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a condition of the central nervous system.
In MS, the coating around nerve fibres (called myelin) is damaged, causing a range of symptoms.
More than 100,000 people in the UK have MS. Symptoms usually start in your 20s and 30s and it affects almost three times as many women as men.
Once diagnosed, MS stays with you for life, but treatments and specialists can help you to manage the condition and its symptoms.
The cause is unknown and a cure is yet to be found, but research is progressing fast.
A love for fundraising
2011 saw the start of my love for fundraising. Of all the things to do, walking over fire seemed the most appealing for my first fundraiser! I told myself if I could do that then I could be stronger than my MS! That event celebrated my 1st anniversary of my MS diagnosis.
I decided from then on I would do my best to raise money for different MS charities. This then started a chain reaction. For many of the charity events a certain level of physical and mental fitness would be needed, not just for myself but for my friends as well, I would most certainly need their help. Different charity events call for different support from my friends, whether it be pushing me in my wheelchair for 5k, running the 5k, organising fun day events which would guarantee someone having to go in the stocks, or even running a marathon!
Last year myself and a friend decided it was time to attend ‘Slimming World’ the dieting group. Whilst at the same time I continued with my gym referral from the previous year and one by one the rest of my friends started to join the same gym!
Slimming World is where we first met Sharon and a friendship started to blossom. It was only a couple of months later that I realised she also went to the same gym as we all did! At this time I had started to organise another charity event and Sharon stood out to me as someone who would enjoy the challenge of the 5k Color Run. I asked and she accepted.
The Color Run
I managed to get a good number of people together and organised the group with the help of my friends!
I told everyone that for this event I didn’t mind how people participated as long as they had fun! We even came up with a name for us ‘bam4msuk’ (By Any Means for MS-UK as that was the charity I had chosen to fundraise for)
I was so happy with the group of friends & really pleased that Sharon had agreed to do it – bearing in mind that this was a lady that didn’t even know the rest of the group! A lady that had recently found her love for running, this is why it was such a surprise to me when she said she wanted to walk with the group that was helping with the wheelchair! She was determined to give as much support as was possible and she didn’t disappoint!
That was then, this is now!
I had a message from Sharon a few weeks ago:
“Hi Vix, want to run an idea past you. Been really proud of all your fitness sessions against your issues. I’m running my first marathon in October in York. Would it be ok if I ran for MS on your behalf? I think you have an amazing amount of strength and willpower and love you to bits! Thought you could borrow these legs ‘virtually’ and we could try to do some good between us? What do you think?”
I felt so honoured! I totally loved the idea! How wonderful!
We arranged to meet up so we could discuss it further, we spoke about the most important thing first… which charity Sharon would be fundraising for. She left that decision for me to make as I know the charities better than she does.
I decided it would be good to raise funds for MS-UK again, I decided this as they are a charity that not only helps me the most, but I think they are the best charity at raising awareness for Multiple Sclerosis.
What Sharon has to say
Here is what Sharon has to say about why she started running, and why she wants to do this Marathon for an MS charity:
“I started running after losing 3 1/2 stone hitting target with slimming world. Had money to join the gym then and my sister-in-law shared a link for a 5k mud run in Carlisle in May 2015. I asked if she was running it and she asked if I wanted to join her? That was it, gauntlet down and challenge accepted! Up to this point I had been in the gym only, using the treadmill and weight machines to improve my poor level of fitness. With this mud run I was going to actually have to get outside for a start, to run but also make sure my overall fitness level could get me through the running, mud, water, fire, heights and climbing over/ under and through things!
Anyway I totally enjoyed this and from then on I started to go out more running and switched to Gym classes (body pump, cx, combat and balance). I also included swimming once a week for a good low impact activity. The running increased gradually over time, gym classes once a week (but 3 of them), swimming once a week and still maintaining my weight with slimming world.
I have definitely caught the running bug!
2015 was my first year of running and I have gone from being unable to run further than 100 yards without being out of breath to getting round 15 miles while talking with my running buddies.
Having met Vix through Slimming World and at the gym, I have seen how much she enjoys her activities and battles through her MS barriers.
It was watching her do this while still smiling that it struck me, my already booked first marathon should be done with her in mind – everything that she battles through daily should be my inspiration to get me through my first ever 26.2 miles.
My original plan had been to attempt a marathon before my 45th birthday (2017) to prove to myself that I could do it – so I shall be completing it to prove to myself that I can and for Vix to show her how much of an inspiration she truly is”
‘Year of the Bear’
This year MS-UK have been promoting the ‘Year of the Bear’ Myles the MS-UK Mascot
I was asked at the beginning of the year if I would take part in it, of course I said yes! A few days later I received my ‘Myles’ the MS-UK mascot and it was time to start taking him with me everywhere I went to capture selfies of him with different people, in different places, doing different things!
I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to continue this campaign with Sharon and her marathon. So like the good sport she is, Sharon will be carrying ‘Myles’ around with her whilst she trains and of course on the big day.
Follow Sharon and Myles
You can follow Sharon and Myles whilst they are training in a number of ways;
by using #MarathonMyles4MSUK or follow them on the Facebook page Bam4ms
It’s a rare thing to happen but Sharon has literally left me speechless about this!
I am still processing it all!
Overwhelmed would be the best word to use to describe how I am feeling!
So I think the best thing for me to do now is say “Sharon you are a complete star” wish her luck and to thank her from the bottom of my heart for doing this!
Next for me to do is let you all know how you can contribute and show Sharon the incredible support that is needed!
I have set up a Just Giving page where you will find it easy to sponsor Sharon & Myles as they take on this epic challenge! Just follow the link for an easy step by step walk through of how to donate!