Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Defiantly Facing the Future with Pride

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Defiantly Facing the Future with Pride

Article excerpt

Byline: KATHRYN RIDDELL Reporter @KathrynRiddell

LIKE most girls of 20 Jess Wilson doesn't know what the future holds.

But unlike most, she is living with an incurable condition which could strike without warning.

Jess was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when she was just 17, after she woke thinking she'd had a stroke.

In September 2013, Jess' eyesight was getting worse and she found she was struggling to walk.

"When I woke up the full right side of my body was weak, I was dragging my leg behind me and I could barely use my arm," said Jess.

Jess spent the next week having tests including several scans, but it was eight months before she was diagnosed.

But the supermarket worker didn't realise the full implications of the condition at first.

"When I received a letter explaining I had multiple sclerosis I thought nothing of it.

"I'd never heard of it, I didn't know what it was, I didn't know how much it would affect me or even what it meant. I remember my mam's face dropping when I read the letter and I couldn't understand why."

Some of the more common symptoms include fatigue, stumbling, numbness and eyesight problems. In severe cases, sufferers can become paralysed or blind.

Those with the condition can have unexpected relapses and while there are some treatments to combat symptoms. There is no cure.

Jess said: "Nobody seems to know what it is unless they have got it themselves or they know someone with it. It's an unknown disease.

"Some people look fine but they are not at all. I'd like to raise awareness of MS so people can understand not everyone who is disabled is in a wheelchair."

Shortly after receiving her diagnosis, Jess went to Sheffield to study social work at university. But as she reached the end of her first year, she realised she couldn't cope living independently and took the decision to move back home.

She said: "It was hard having to go home but it was the best decision I made. It was too much to go through on my own. I still had not come to terms with my diagnosis."

Now she is back with parents Louise and Darren, in Walker, Newcastle, and has begun fundraising for the MS Society. …

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