NEW ONLINE SUPPORT GROUP

New Generation MSS IOW facebook group has been set up for people with MS to be able to use social media to share information, swap stories or just chat.
It is a confidential, fun and friendly page for people on the Isle of Wight living with MS.
It is a closed group to ensure that people can feel safe in the knowledge that the group isc run by an administrator.
Read below how Karen became inspired to set it up.

Picture shows Sue, Lyn and Karen.

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NEW ONLINE SUPPORT GROUP LAUNCHED TO HELP ISLAND PEOPLE LIVING WITH MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS
A DIAGNOSIS of any disease can be overwhelming, frightening, and isolating.
But in less than two years one Brading resident has gone from being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis - losing her vision, driving licence, home, and a job she loved - to helping others learn ways to cope with the day-to-day challenges of living with the condition.
Karen Holmes, 42, will never forget the day she was diagnosed. "I had tears," she said. "They weren't tears of panic, they were tears of relief knowing that my symptoms were because of MS and not something else."
For some people, being diagnosed with MS can be overwhelming, frightening, and distressing. For others it can be a relief, especially if they've had symptoms which couldn't be explained. This is because the manifestation of the disease – the symptoms each individual experiences – are so varied that any two people with MS may look like they have different diseases.
Despite the initial relief, however, life would not be easy. Karen explained she lost her independence and did not leave her house for nearly a year. Unable to work, she could not afford to rent the bungalow she shared with husband David, 44. Her peripheral vision has become impaired and she has mobility issues.
"After I was first diagnosed, I felt I was on my own," said Karen. "Then through meeting other people with MS, I was encouraged to start volunteering in the MS drop in centre in Shanklin, helping in the charity shop. Although I was nervous at first, it's been one of the best things I've ever done as the people and the support they have shown me has slowly brought me out of myself."
And now, spurred on by her husband and family, Karen along with others she has met with the disease, have taken the even bigger step of setting up an online support group.
The fledgling group aims to reach a broader range of MS patients such as the newly diagnosed and introduce new activities and events across the island to help tackle the isolation and loneliness that often accompanies MS.
David Loveridge Local Network Officer for MS Society said: Loneliness is a serious issue that pervades every section of society. But people who live with chronic conditions like MS are among those most at risk. When people are newly diagnosed with MS, they can often withdraw and become isolated but joining a support group and speaking with others who have MS can help you feel less alone."
The group’s small community is growing so if you are looking to share stories, experiences or just simply chat in confidence to others with MS then head over to Facebook and join the ‘New Generation MSS IOW group’.


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