“My first attack just felt like a virus. I was in the shower and it felt like I had a blocked ear. But it threw out my balance so I ended up going to an ears, nose and throat specialist. Then I was diagnosed as being clinically deaf. But after eight weeks my hearing came back, just as gradually as I lost it.

In my second attack I was completely numb from my feet right through to my core. Within a year I was diagnosed with remitting MS, I was told I’d be in a wheelchair at the age of 34. I’m the first in my family to get it. Why I’ve got it I don’t know, I was fit as a fiddle and never got sick. Never even had a GP or anything like that.

MS affects the central nervous system. So my brain and spine is riddled with what they call plaques, and you can get flare-ups or attacks. There are no two people with MS that are affected in the same way. It affects your nerves, your muscles; the messages from your brain. So I can say ‘lift your foot up’ but nothing happens, it just doesn’t go through.

The first six months were very hard... Just getting my head around not being able to work, and not understanding anything about centrelink or anything like that. But once I accepted it and understood how things work, I was fine. I got in to routines. I still get up the same time I did with work, 7 days a week I get up at 5:30am and prepare my meals for the day.

I’m determined not to be wheelchair dependent, so I still use my walker for a few hours in the morning. I still do all my activities and refuse to have a carer. I love life, and I’m much happier now. I spend a lot of time with groups and I try to use a lot of skills from my working life to help people. I have a lot of experience with people management and understanding processes, so I enjoy being around people, and if I can give back to the community I’m very grateful.

That’s why I really enjoy coming along to the community meal. I like to come early in the morning and help with the setting up, as much as I can physically do. That’s my way of giving back, as well as talking to people as much as I can.”