Monique Bolland wears many hats – brand manager at Nuzest, designer, mother and entrepreneur. She also lives with MS and is also our newest Kiss Goodbye to MS community fundraising ambassador.
Diagnosed with MS at 23 years old, Monique recalls her earliest symptoms occurring about a year before her official diagnosis. The initial pins and needles in her hand and arm eventually progressed to growing sensory numbness. A couple of days later whilst cutting bread, she then realised that she had cut her own hand as a result of her symptoms, which she describes as “a very dramatic scene” at the time.
However, the gravity of the situation didn’t sink in for while…not even when Monique heard the words “you have MS” from her neurologist following her first magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. Being a healthy and headstrong 23-year-old at the time, Monique stuck her head in the sand and went about her daily life as if nothing was wrong.
In hindsight, Monique describes this as a blessing. Monique’s prognosis was quite bleak, with the only treatment options available at the time not being particularly effective for her. Monique’s passion for MS research stems from the incredible treatment progress she has seen firsthand since her diagnosis. Back then, the treatment that works for Monique now was not yet available.
“The treatment options are getting broader and more effective and I am confident that the next step of finding a cure is just around the corner,” she says.
The lack of effective treatment options at the time of Monique’s diagnosis led her and her father Trevor to embark on a research journey into natural therapies.
“We spoke to doctors and health practitioners all over the world and the message that kept coming back to us was that good nutrition and a healthy, balanced lifestyle were essential to good health – whether you are living with MS or not.”
Monique and Trevor discovered a need for clean, effective and easy-to-take supplements. So, the father-daughter duo took it into their own hands and started working with some of the experts they had met along their journey to formulate their first products based on the latest scientific research. In 2012, their plant-based nutritional supplement company Nuzest was born and has since gained global success, with the brand now being sold in over 17 countries across the world.
With Monique’s diagnosis spurring the birth of Nuzest, Monique says it is only fitting that she supports MS research both personally and professionally.
Team Nuzest are a regular at events such as The May 50K and City2Surf, have taken on the Great Wall of China for MS research last year, and the company also donates a portion of their sales to MS research every year.
When we asked Monique what her new ambassador role meant to her, she said, “If speaking up about my story can help other people handle their own diagnosis, then I want to do that as often and as loudly as possible.”
Monique has big dreams for the future of people living with MS, which include finding a cure, pinpointing the cause and finding a way to reverse the damage already caused by MS.
With more than 25,600 Australians living with MS and 10 Australians being diagnosed every single week, accelerating research into the prevention, better treatments and a cure for MS is our mission at MS Research Australia. We won’t stop until we can Kiss Goodbye to MS once and for all.
To those recently diagnosed with MS, Monique says:
“Life is going to be different now, but it’s not all bad. You will probably learn a whole lot about yourself and hopefully will become healthier because of it. When you Google (which you will), pay attention to reputable sources that are going to arm you with knowledge, not fear. Read up on the various treatment options, but also all the research into the positive impact of nutrition and lifestyle.”
We are so pleased to have Monique on board as our newest Kiss Goodbye to MS ambassador, an important role to help raise awareness and funds for life-changing MS research.