Lockington's Kate Curran and her siblings all have multiple sclerosis but feel not enough is known about the debilitating condition.ELAINE COONEY June 3, 2014 3:20am
Lockington resident Kate Curran and her siblings Matthew Curran and Jacinta Woolfe are MS warriors. Photo: supplied
Multiple sclerosis sufferer Kate Curran’s pet peeve is the evil eye she gets when she parks in a disabled spot.
To look at Kate you would never know she had a debilitating illness, she looks like a fit and healthy woman ready to take on the world.
The Lockington resident is organising one of the district’s biggest bike rides to raise awareness of MS.
Because MS sometimes has no outward symptoms, she wants to raise the understanding that sometimes people are in chronic pain and others have no idea what is happening inside.
‘‘The looks I get (parking in a disabled spot) I feel like shaking them and saying, ‘you don’t know.
She said the pain in her feet was like walking on hot coals.
She uses the disabled parking spot when she needs it, but on a good day will leave it for someone else.
When she was diagnosed with the illness in 2001, she cried every day
In 2003 she needed to gather herself together and support her sister Jacinta, who was diagnosed with the condition.
Her brother Matt followed in 2005.
The family is part of a case study into how MS is inherited.
Kate’s grandfather was diagnosed with MS when he was 26 and died at 32.
She said it was easier to take her own diagnosis than the news her siblings had MS because they had children and partners to consider.
Kate’s mother Colleen knew there was a potential genetic link with MS, but never imagined her children would develop the condition.
She had a difficult conversation with Matt about the ethics of having more children when the condition could be passed down.
His initial instinct was he would not like to risk inflicting the illness on anyone else, but he changed his mind when Colleen expressed how much she cherished her children and would never change her decision.
Kate’s first symptoms were fatigue and a weakness in her leg left with a shooting pain which left her unable to move at times.
After diabetes and a brain tumour were ruled out, Colleen suggested a test for MS.
Kate booked in to see a specialist and was diagnosed with the condition on the day of the consultation.
‘‘I had to give up work which stripped my independence,’’ she said.
‘‘I put on 20kg to 30kg because I was on steroids and emotionally it destroyed me.’’
Kate has given up smoking and walks 5km a day which is improving her wellbeing.
She said when she worked she could be fine one week, but then need to spend the next week in bed due to the fatigue the illness brings.
Her eyesight also fails which means she cannot drive.
Kate said cutting edge medication had made a drastic improvement to her condition.
She takes a dose of the treatment at hospital once a month.
She now looks towards the future in a positive way and enjoys her new healthy lifestyle.
Thursday was MS awareness day and Kate and her siblings have begun planning an awareness bike ride in Rochester in November called Pedal for a Purpose.
There will be a 10km and 50km event and entrants can register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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