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Seven Decades of Support

The MS Society is a place of resilience and a place of joy

This month we’ve been reminded that 1953 was a momentous year for Britain. The coronation of a queen who would reign for seven decades has, understandably, been in the news as the world marks her passing. But we have other reasons to remember 1953. It was the year when Multiple Sclerosis sufferer Mary Cave and her husband Richard, dissatisfied with the poor treatment and support on offer, arranged a meeting for people facing the same challenge.

Unlike Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, which was attended by just about anyone who could get to central London and watched on TV by just about anyone who could find a screen, that first meeting in West London was attended by only a handful of people. That was enough, though. The MS Society was born.

There are an estimated 130,000 people with Multiple Sclerosis in the UK. That’s around one person in every 520. It’s life-changing and incurable, but no one has to face it alone.

The Multiple Sclerosis Society funds research, campaigns to raise awareness of and understanding of the condition and supports individuals and their families, both financially and emotionally. The charity’s 29,000 members and 5,500 volunteers span the country, and in Swansea, their work could not be more highly valued. After many years of weekly meetings at, appropriately enough, the Mary Cave Centre, the Swansea group has found a new lease of life at Christ Well in Manselton Road. Group Coordinator Sharon Hier is delighted with the new venue:

“Christ Well has a reputation for offering a warm welcome, and that’s exactly what we’ve received. The Swansea and District MS Society meets on Thursdays from 10.30am to 2.30pm. Women and men across a wide age range come together to share experiences and build friendships. For me, it’s a highlight of the week and I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels that way.”

When you visit the group the first thing you notice, before you even enter the room, is the sound of laughter. When you do enter the room, what you find is uplifting. These people face challenges with insight, enthusiasm and humour. And they face them together. Group activities include archery, basketball, boccia and quizzes. A collective determination to improve the lives of others has driven fundraising campaigns that, in the summer of 2022, raised over £500 for the Stop MS Appeal.

Members of the public seeking information on Multiple Sclerosis and the support available to them are given access to all the resources the society has to offer. They learn that incurable and untreatable are not the same thing. They learn that facing illness in isolation and facing it among friends are very different indeed.

If you live in the Swansea area and you, a friend or a loved one have been diagnosed with MS, please get in touch. You can contact the MS Society through the People’s Library, through Christ Well, through the charity’s Wales headquarters or through Sharon Hier.

As it approaches its 70th anniversary the MS Society is going stronger than ever, and the Swansea and District group is a beacon of light and a source of enjoyment for everyone who attends. Why not go to Christ Well one Thursday and find out for yourself?


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