Meet fundraising superstar, Charley.
This will be her 4th year taking part in The May 50K. So far, she’s raised over $28,600 for MS research.
Charley was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2020.
She began experiencing tingling in her hands and numbness from the neck down.
Initially, she was brushed off by medical staff with reference to her history with anxiety and depression saying her symptoms might be psychosomatic. But Charley knew there was something wrong and continued to advocate for herself.
Eventually, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
“It was a difficult road to get diagnosed because there were some systematic barriers as a young woman with a history of anxiety and depression I was palmed off as being anxious.”
“It took about four weeks from the first episode to landing in hospital and getting confirmation I did have MS.”
“It definitely came as a shock.”
“I had functionality of my limbs, but I couldn’t feel anything from the neck down. I remember sitting in the emergency room and my partner looked at me and goes, ‘You’re happy about this’, and in the moment I was weirdly very happy because I was finally believed. I knew that something was wrong with me and no one believed me. When I got confirmation something was wrong it was a triumph that I know my body, I know when something is wrong. I suppose the gravity of what was to come had not fully set in then and there.”
“If there’s one piece of advice I want to share, regardless of getting a diagnosis or starting a new treatment, I cannot reinforce how important it is to advocate for yourself and ask for help. It’s so important – and that comes from a stubborn person like me who almost always struggles to ask for help.”
While the numbness and tingling have become less noticeable for Charley, she still lives with fatigue – a common symptom of multiple sclerosis.
“The treatment 30 years ago wasn’t what it was today, if you were diagnosed 20 years ago you would have a much different outlook.
“I think that you have to acknowledge how far research has brought us, [but] we obviously don’t have a cure yet.”
“Ultimately, the more money we can raise the more likely we are to get new drugs, more trials, and something rolled out on a large scale pushing us closer to a cure.”
“The reason why I do this is because I know we’re making amazing strides forward. The more money that MS Australia can raise ensures researchers are much more likely to be studying and acquiring those new treatments faster.”
Charley is back with The May 50K this year, aiming to walk an incredible 300km for MS research.
“Having MS is a permanent thing that keeps me coming back [to The May 50K]. I have a lot of fun doing it every year and it’s a really great way to keep me active.”
Thank you for taking on The May 50K with Charley.
Together, we can leave MS where it belongs, behind us.