Honouring the ‘heroes’ who ensure people living with Multiple Sclerosis don’t face it alone
Warning: some people may find this story confronting
While you’re enjoying the festive season with your family at home, MS Queensland asks you to think of the nurses, support workers and carers, selflessly providing 24/7 care to many living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and other neurological conditions who have high care needs.
This year’s MS Queensland Christmas Appeal is dedicated to the nurses and support workers who bring comfort and joy, allowing people with high care needs to live at home with care a button press away.
The MS Queensland team often become like family and during the festive season, being surrounded by people you know and who know you is more important than ever.
Having a support network was especially important to Karyn. For the five years Karyn was in MS Queensland’s care she had no known family.
Karyn, 47, sadly passed away in July this year, however, she did so peacefully, surrounded by her MS Queensland family, in her home at MS Queensland’s Springfield Apartments.
Karyn was diagnosed with MS in 2010 and was admitted to hospital shortly after. Most recently, she found her home at Springfield Apartments, thanks to the support of MS Queensland.
“When Karyn first arrived at the apartments, she took one look around and said, ‘Ah, I’m home’. She was very special to us because we became her family. We never left her side, even at the very end,” Accommodation Services Manager Cathy said.
“Karyn was very special to us. She was a real character, full of strength and determination. You could see that when she first arrived. She would push herself around in her manual wheelchair and go outside on the veranda, to enjoy the sunshine.”
Over time, Karyn’s MS progressed. Although her wit was very much intact, Karyn’s mobility became limited, and she found it harder to process what was happening around her; a stark contrast to her former life as a statistician.
Toward the end, Karyn was diagnosed with advanced kidney stones and the hospital told MS Queensland there was nothing further they could do for Karyn, other than to manage her pain.
“We were the only family Karyn had known for the last five years. So, when I heard the doctor say that, I only had one thought on my mind — we have to get Karyn back home with us and put palliative care services around her,” Cathy said.
MS Queensland Executive General Manager Fundraising Dan Lalor said Karyn’s story highlighted the need for funds to ensure men and women living with MS can live at home with care from MS Queensland nurses.
“It was only thanks to the generous support of donors that allowed our nurses to provide the round-the-clock care Karyn needed to be at home in her final days,” Mr Lalor said.
“Karyn’s final days would have been very different, if we didn’t have nurses. She would have stayed in hospital and spent her last moments alone.”
MS Queensland hopes to raise $135,000 by Christmas Day.
“We invite you to support our nurses to do what they do best. And around Christmas time, being cared for by people who are like family, is more important than ever,” Mr Lalor said.
Help us support our nurses this Christmas by sharing this story or donating today.