MS Society Coleraine celebrate 30th anniversary

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The MS Society Coleraine and District branch is celebrating a significant milestone this year as they mark 30 years of supporting local people with Multiple sclerosis (MS).

The group, which was founded in February 1983, provides information, advice and support for local people living with MS. In May 1983 local lady Iris Cooke set up the branch self-help group, one of the first MS self-help groups in Northern Ireland.

The branch is run by a dedicated group of local volunteers. The branch provides reflexology, massage; support groups and MS exercise classes as well as hosting a weekly MS self-help group every Thursday at the Pavestone Centre.

To celebrate their 30th anniversary the branch are hosting a special Gala Ball on Friday 24 May at the Lodge Hotel, Coleraine. This black tie event will include a three course meal, live music and a prize draw with great prizes to be won. Tickets are just £22 and all the proceeds will help the branch to continue to support local people living with MS.

Alastair McAfee, MS Society Coleraine Branch member, says the Gala Ball is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the branch over the last 30 years and support the on-going development of the branch services.

“When I was diagnosed with MS in 1999 it was shock and very difficult to cope with,” he said. “The local MS Society branch was there for me and my family, providing support and services when I needed them. The main reason the branch is still going is down to the tireless work of Iris and Ian Cooke, our founders, and other local volunteers. Our Gala Ball is an ideal opportunity to thank everyone who has supported the branch over the years and celebrate this important milestone. I’d like to encourage local people to join us and help us to continue to support local people affected by MS.”

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common disabling neurological condition affecting young adults. Around 4,000 people in Northern Ireland have MS, one of the highest rates in the world. MS is the result of damage to myelin – the protective sheath surrounding nerve fibres of the central nervous system – which interferes with messages between the brain and the body. MS is unpredictable. MS attacks at random and the symptoms are often hidden. It remains unpredictable throughout your life – one day you can be fine, the next you might lose your sight or be unable to move. Symptoms range from loss of sight and mobility to fatigue, cognitive problems and depression. There is no cure and few effective treatments.

For more information on the MS Society Coleraine and District Branch and to purchase tickets for the MS Society Coleraine and District 30th Gala Ball please contact Gillian McAfee on 07759030699.