Diagonosed with MS, Amy Fulthorpe wants to raise $10,000 to help MS Australia

RIDING FOR MS: Riding for MS participants Donna Bateup, Liz Smith, Kylie Holford, Amy Fulthorpe, Kristy Waddell and Belinda Henry. Photo: PHIL BLATCH
RIDING FOR MS: Riding for MS participants Donna Bateup, Liz Smith, Kylie Holford, Amy Fulthorpe, Kristy Waddell and Belinda Henry. Photo: PHIL BLATCH

WHEN she had unexplained tingling in her hands three years ago, the last thing Amy Fulthorpe expected was to be diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).

While the diagnosis was difficult to come to grips with, she’s focusing on the positives and in the process raising $10,000 for MS Australia.

Ms Fulthorpe and other family members are participating in the 2016 MS Sydney to the Gong charity bike ride.

She said participating in the bike ride would be a challenge, but she is determined to raise the $10,000 for MS Australia,

“My team is made up of my family, life-long friends and supportive colleagues,” Ms Fulthorpe said.

“Most of us have not ridden a bike in years so this experience is really putting us out of our comfort zone, but we are enjoying the challenge and we are really driven by the cause.

“This group wanted to support myself and more than 23,000 others throughout Australia who are living with multiple sclerosis.

“Aside from looking forward to joining others in the fun and atmosphere on the day, we are taking part to raise funds to support people living with multiple sclerosis.”

Ms Fulthorpe said her MS diagnosis was a shock.

“Unfortunately, it can strike anyone at any time and the symptoms vary so widely,” she said.

“For instance, can you imagine waking up one day unable to do the everyday things you would usually take for granted? Like not being able to see properly (or at all), you physically can’t get out of bed, can’t walk to the phone to call someone – anyone, or live a life without pain?

“My medical investigation, then diagnosis, was triggered by constant tingling in my hands, although we can look back now and assume the vertigo I suffered over 20 years ago as my very first symptom.”

Ms Fulthorpe said a multiple sclerosis diagnosis can be extremely difficult to come to grips with.

“All of a sudden there is a lot of new information to absorb, questions to ask and key decisions to make,” she said.

“I was initially overwhelmed by the volume of information I needed to take in. I was unsure of how it may affect my life, my family, my work.

“I had to investigate how it can be treated and how I could access the information and support I needed. MS Australia was a great place for me to start.

“All the funds we raise while participating in this ride, will support people living with multiple sclerosis so they can access vital MS Support Services.”

These services include MS Peer Support, connecting people who are newly diagnosed with those who have lived with MS for a number of years, and the MS Employment Support Program, keeping Australians living with MS in the work force.

Ms Fulthorpe said she was lucky to be quite well with her MS.

“I am on disease modifying medication which will hopefully put the disease on pause and prevent it from progressing. Taking care of myself by living a healthy and balanced lifestyle, as well as listening to my body is extremely beneficial to my ongoing health,” she said.

Ms Fulthorpre said the unconditional support she had received from family and friends was also imperative to her wellbeing.

“And I’m lucky, I have it in bucket-loads,” she said.

In the lead up to the big ride, Ms Fulthorpe is hosting a barefoot bowls and barbecue fundraiser at the Majellan Bowling Club on Sunday, October 30, starting at noon.

Tickets are available at Relationships Australia (91 Seymour Street), Lifeline (293A Stewart Street) or from Amy on 0401 673 698.

To donate go to http://www.msgongride.org.au/index.cfm?fuseaction+donorDrive.team&teamID=5376 or go along to the pre-ride fundraiser.