It’s been almost two months since Catherine’s life changed completely as she knew it, when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Catherine’s diagnosis came as a massive shock to her and her family, and – just like many others who have been in the same situation, it was an incredibly emotional time for everyone.
“As a kid, all I knew about MS was that it was a scary and debilitating disease.”
Aside from her participation in the MS Readathon in primary school, Catherine and her family didn’t know much about MS.
Thanks to her knowledgeable medical specialist team, Catherine was reassured that she could still lead a normal life – thanks to the life-changing advances in medical research and modern MS treatments.
Catherine experienced significant deterioration in her vision, as well as weakness in her left arm and leg. The decline in Catherine’s vision led her to take time off from work and required her parents to live with her, assisting Catherine day-to-day.
Since then, Catherine’s journey has been filled with highs and lows, which she describes as being, “a tumultuous time dealing with fluctuating symptoms”, in addition to mentally processing the impact of the diagnosis.
These challenges and the new chapter in Catherine’s life changed her outlook. “It has made me focus more on what I can do, rather than what I can’t.”
And one thing that Catherine is proud to do is fundraise! So far she has raised a massive $3,783 to help power MS research!
“I’m so grateful for the support of my family and friends during this difficult time. It’s also been reassuring to hear stories of other people with MS and how normal their lives are.”
In addition to her online fundraising, Catherine’s parents, Sheila and Andrew, will also be donating half of the proceeds from their ongoing cupcake fundraiser, to further enable Australian MS researchers to continue their invaluable work. ‘Sheila and Andrew’s Cupcakes’ donate the other half of their sale proceeds to cancer research, in support of Sheila’s own battle with cancer.
As a pharmacist, Catherine’s passion and belief in MS research is reinforced daily as she sees firsthand the impacts of new and improved medications. “There is always space for new developments, new approaches and new treatments to improve the quality of life and outcomes for individuals.”
Despite Catherine’s vision still being affected and some weakness and lack of dexterity in her left arm and leg, thanks to the advancements in available medications, her symptoms have improved and she is, “pleased with every little bit of progress.”
So what are Catherine’s hopes and dreams for the future for people living with MS?
“I hope in the future, MS won’t be such a scary term and that through research the cause of MS will be determined, which could lead to preventative steps and hopefully eventually a cure.”
We’d like to thank Catherine for her commitment to and support of life-changing MS research. People like Catherine and her incredibly supportive and generous network encourage the MS community to keep working, so that together we can Kiss Goodbye to MS once and for all.
If you’d like to check out Catherine’s fundraising progress, you can visit her fundraising page here: https://kissgoodbyetoms.org/fundraiser/catherine-downey/
For more information on how you can raise funds for life-changing MS research, please head to: http://www.kissgoodbyetoms.org or contact the Kiss Goodbye to MS team on 1300 785 717.