Northern Ireland has one of the highest rates of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in the world, with approximately one in every 500 people affected. It is the second most common cause of neurological disability in young adults and is usually diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40. There is currently no cure for MS and patients live with this debilitating condition for any years. Queen’s academic, Dr Denise Fitzgerald, and her team, are undertaking innovative research into how parts of the immune system can help repair the damage to the central nervous system caused by MS attacks. This research is offering a beacon of hope to thousands of people with MS, including Caroline Jamison from Carrickfergus. A passionate supporter of Dr Fitzgerald’s research, Caroline explains the impact this disease has had on her family life. “My mother was diagnosed with MS at only 33, while I was still at school. She had always been a very active person, who loved life and her family. Mum bravely fought this cruel disease with courage and dignity before she passed away in 2007, aged just 70.
Six years later I was also diagnosed with MS and it was then that I found out about the ground-breaking research Denise and her team are carrying out. It gave my dad and I hope that a cure will be found. “The following year my dad passed away and in his will he left me his beautiful collection of vintage motorbikes which he had lovingly and meticulously restored during his lifetime. I decided to use the bikes to help fundraise for the MS research team at Queen’s. I also wanted to use the collection as a legacy gift in my own will, to ensure funds are available to support MS research at the University in the future. I am proud to be associated with the team – helping, in my own way, to ensure research continues until a treatment is found. I also take confidence from the fact that I know any monies raised or gifted will be spent here in Northern Ireland, for the benefit of MS sufferers worldwide.”