BY CORALIE AYALA
A teacher and a former banker who both live with multiple sclerosis are spearheading a campaign for investment into the condition.
George Hornby, from Herne Hill, and Rebbecca Robinson, from Croydon, have raised awareness about the need of investment in MS research in the Houses of Parliament.
The duo’s stories featured in the MS Society’s Multiple Sclerosis – The Research Story exhibition, which was displayed in the Houses of Parliament’s Upper Waiting Hall from June 10-14.
Everyone is sharing their testimony in the hope Parliamentarians will pledge support for advancing MS research.
Teaching assistant Rebbecca, 33, was diagnosed with MS in 2018, after waking up with an excruciating arm pain out of the blue. Her symptoms include fatigue, vertigo, numbness and spasms in her right leg, and constant nerve pain in her head.
Rebbecca said: “Finding out I had MS really upset me because I have an amazing four-year-old and worry he might have to look after me one day. “But with advances in treatments I could be symptom-free.
My hope is for a cure so I can live my life with less worry and anxiety. It would mean I could look after my son, have a fulfilling life and continue to achieve my goals for myself and my family.”
Rebbecca has chosen to showcase a Scrabble board and a card her son made for Mother’s Day, representing their love for each other.
MS research in the past 20 years has led to major advances, including more than a dozen licensed treatments for people with the relapsing form of MS, but campaigners say more investment needs to be done to find better treatment options for everyone to slow or even stop MS progression.
Mr Hornby, 48, who was diagnosed with primary progressive MS in 2002, has used a wheelchair since his motor function has reduced. Until last month, there were no treatment options available on the NHS for MS, a condition whose symptoms gradually worsen.
Former banker Mr Hornby said: “I’m really excited about the MS Society’s plans for the future, and about all the different types of research already under way.
I’d really like to see more treatments which slow progression, as well as address the symptoms of MS like fatigue, muscle weakness and lost dexterity.”
Mr Hornby uses a walking stick, which will be displayed in the exhibition.
He also spoke about how it felt using a walking stick for the first time, getting petty looks but neutral overall.
Dr Susan Kohlhaas, Director of Research at the MS Society, said: “More than 100,000 people live with MS in the UK and many of them are still left without treatment options that slow or stop progression.
But we are at a turning point in MS research and the UK is at the forefront of this. We are closer than ever before to having treatments for everyone with MS, and stopping MS for good.