Life

Manchester based website leads the fight to change perceptions about Multiple Sclerosis

By Kevin McHugh

Set up late last year, Positive About MS is a website for those whose lives are affected by Multiple Sclerosis, but the aim of this Manchester based website is to offer more than just information.

Walkden based Kaz Laljee, who was diagnosed with primary progressive MS just over five years ago, created the website as a response to the media’s typically morbid portrayal of those who have MS.

Although inspiration often springs from adversity, Kaz, 33, found that stories focused on the achievements of those who have thrived despite the illness tended to be overshadowed by the on-going public debate on assisted suicide.

“This is not right in my opinion. It sends out a message that after you get MS it’s all doom and gloom and that your life is over.

“They talk about what you can no longer do and how life will continue to get worse. What kind of message is this to send out?”

He adds: “The public need to be informed and made aware what MS is and what the person who has it can do.”

And that is exactly what Kaz has set out to achieve with his website.

Positive About MS contains information on symptoms, treatments and research into Multiple Sclerosis, but more uniquely offers inspirational stories, ideas for days out for people with difficulties in movement and even long list of benefits that Kaz has experienced with the condition.

“I hope to help and educate people and most of all give those affected by MS hope. If my website just helps that one person to change their life and give them belief, then I would consider it a success,” says Kaz.

Of the symptoms of MS, it is the restricted mobility that affects Kaz the most. He has crutches and uses a mobility scooter for traveling longer distances which he says he initially didn’t like using but now enjoys the greater freedom it allows him.

Kaz is often involved in events concerning the condition. He is a member of the Salford MS Society and has appeared on BBC Radio Manchester to talk about MS and the upcoming MS Life event.

MS Life, which will take place on April 14 and 15 at the Manchester Central convention complex, is the MS Society’s lifestyle flagship event.

Head of Communications at the MS Society, Ian Fannon, says being active is important to those with the condition and praises Kaz’s website.

He said: “Living with MS can often feel like your own body is your worst enemy – but every day people fight back against the condition, including people like Kaz.” 

“Tens of thousands of people across the UK live life to the full in spite of (or sometimes because of) their MS; it is great to see such an upbeat message coming from a website like Positive About MS.”

But it isn’t just those based in the UK who are responding to Positive About MS. Kaz has had messages of support and from people from as far afield as the USA, Ukraine, India and Korea.

“At first I was worried about being one voice in an empty room, but it wasn’t the case as it’s great to see just how many positive people are out there,” says Kaz. 

“When setting up the site I would have been happy for it to be helpful just one person, but to see people across the world accessing Positive About MS is fantastic!”

Visit Positive About MS at http://www.positiveaboutms.com/ 

To find out more about MS Life, or to book a free place, visit: http://www.mssociety.org.uk/ms-events/ms-life-2012 

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