Although I completely missed it, it was World MS Day on Wednesday last week.
Here's what they wanted to achieve:
"The first World MS Day will unite individuals, groups and organisations in the global MS movement. It will provide them with an opportunity to participate in events and activities that will raise awareness of MS as a global issue and raise funds to support the work of the movement including MS research".
Appropriately enough, given that it was the day when he scored a wonderful goal in the Champions League Final, Lionel Messi had this to say:
"Whenever I go out to the field, whenever I kick the ball and whenever I run to catch it, every step and every effort I make will be a tribute to the people who live with a much more difficult challenge, to fight every day against MS".
They've made a fantastic, thoughtful video too:
Of course, this is all very close to home for me, and that video actually brought a tear to my eye. I injected myself with my first dose of Avonex on Tuesday, and it's really brought home for me how much my life has changed and how quickly. I'm relatively unaffected at the moment, but this is a progressive condition, and the best that I can hope for is that things don't get any worse. Unless medical science turfs something up, I'm never going to get any better.
So, given the lack of other alternatives, perhaps we'd best get on with giving medical science a helping hand, eh? With that in mind, C. and I are going to be running the Robin Hood Half Marathon in Nottingham in September to raise money for the MS Society - it's not just for me, of course, but it's for everyone who is - and for everyone who will be - affected by this unpleasant condition. It's not just about the money, either - it's about awareness. MS is one of those conditions that people have heard of and probably have preconceptions about. But MS is a disease that has a thousand faces, and no one person will experience it in the same way as any other. The only way to challenge those preconceptions is by educating people about the disease; by telling them what it is and how it affects me. I can only speak for myself, of course, and of m own experience, but I have MS, and I've decided that it's not going to be a secret. I'm perhaps not going to wear a badge advertising the fact, but neither am I going to keep this as my dirty little secret. My syringes, sharps box and things were all delivered to work last week, and when anyone asked me what was in the big box, I just told them. When I felt a bit ropey on the morning after my injection and people asked why, I told them. Why lie? I'm not challenging anyone's preconceptions if I keep this all to myself. I refuse to be ashamed, and I'm not going to pretend that I feel rough because I had a good night out in the pub just because it's easier for everyone - including me - than the truth.
Our natty orange running vests have arrived from the MS Society now and training is well under way. As soon as we get a Just Giving page up and running, I'm going to be ceaselessly touting for sponsorship from now until the race is run. Just so you know, like.