Laura's Story

At 18 years old Laura was preparing her application to join the Royal Marine band and was doing the physical training for it when she started to lose the use of her feet - she had noticed she couldn't tap her foot while playing her saxophone. A friend thought she might have compartment syndrome but she got progressively worse; tripping up and falling over. On the advice of a physio we went to our A&E department and saw a doctor who obviously realized something serious was going on and arranged an MRI for the following week. About a week or so later we were called back as an emergency and at first they thought she had a brain tumor and admitted her to hospital - by this time she had complete bilateral foot drop. She recovered from this after IV steroids but was told she was just days away from permanent damage. After more tests (and a bout of optic neuritis) they diagnosed MS and lots of things then fell in to place.

Laura had struggled since she was about 10 with really bad leg cramps - I think these were probably spasms and depression about the same time. From about 14 she started having headaches and feeling sick and with extreme tiredness - we now know these are classic MS symptoms. We think the MS was exacerbated by having mumps earlier in the year she became ill. Laura had to abandon her musical career which she found the most upsetting of all. She has always worked full time and is now doing a degree in social work alongside her job which she struggles with because of fatigue. She has been having monthly infusions for the last five years and is so brave that I think she is truly awesome.

Amongst other things, she has run a half marathon and done a firewalk for MS charities and is probably the person I admire most for her strength and courage.