Helen Brook-Smith, the MS-UK fundraiser of the month for January 2024

“To anyone considering fundraising for MS-UK, I would 100% recommend it”

Our fundraiser of the month Helen Brook-Smith surpassed her own fundraising expectations

I have been involved in several fundraising events over the years for different charities that have usually had a connection to family or friends, however my recent fundraising for MS-UK was very personal.

Last year I started experiencing a ‘pins and needles’ sensation in my forearm and hand, which I had dismissed as a trapped nerve. However, my GP, being cautious, sent me for an MRI and a phone call the following week confirmed her initial suspicions – demyelination of the spinal cord.

Since this initial finding, I have had further investigative procedures. I have the support of an amazing MS nurse, and my neurologist is currently looking to place me on a trial for progressive MS.

So much has happened in a relatively short period of time and it’s all still a bit of a ‘whirlwind’ if I’m honest. I take each day as it comes. Being a pro-active and somewhat optimistic individual, I immediately researched different charities and support available to the MS community and I was amazed by the wealth of information available.

When the recent Knitting Challenge for MS-UK appeared on my Instagram feed I was instantly drawn to it as my partner and a few family members love to crochet and knit so this seemed like a nice way to ‘give-back’ and raise some money for a charity where I can see first-hand how donations are used to provide advice and guidance for the MS community.

The plan was to hold a table top sale at my partner’s workplace, with the help of my mother-in-law. My initial goal was the suggested £100. Obviously we thought if we could make more it’d be great, however to reach nearly £600 was incredible considering we were making a few baubles, toys, and sweet-filled stockings!

Setting up the JustGiving page was an easy process, and I was able to add updates with some photos of the items created.

Once news of the upcoming sale spread, we had orders coming in from friends and family and I was so grateful and humbled. The table top sale was well attended, and I was so grateful for the time and effort from family and friends in supporting the event. I also very much appreciated the words of support and encouragement from Sadé at MS-UK, as I really felt like I was making a difference. It was that personal touch that you don’t often get with some organisations, so thank you!

To anyone considering fundraising for MS-UK, I would 100% recommend it. My motivation was to raise a few funds for something that suddenly became a part of my life and I wanted to return the favour if you will. It turned out to be an enjoyable and humbling experience to see first-hand just how much support I have out there from family and friends.