As a group of 4 MS sufferers we are raising funds for game changing mobility equipment not currently funded by our healthcare system in NZ.
This is a request to assist us in gaining back our independence.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a disease where the immune system eats away at the protective covering of a person’s nerves. This causes many different symptoms, but may include vision loss, pain, fatigue and impaired coordination. Unfortunately, there is no cure for MS and it is a progressive disorder. This means that those affected by it slowly lose their independence as the disease progresses.
What is the OMEO?
Although the Omeo gives the impression of a wheelchair it is so much more. Not only does the Omeo help MS sufferers to get around, it also provides important core work for overall strength and stimulates the mind. The Omeo is based on Segway Technology.
The Active Seat Control allows the user to use their core to control movement. This core control gives back the experience and sensation of balanced-based, hands-free movement. This also means that users maintain their strength for longer because they are using their body to move as opposed to passively sitting in a wheelchair.
Omeo gives back quality time with friends and family for those struggling with MS by giving them the ability to not only move around in their homes or on sidewalks, but can go on all walk terrains i.e. forest walks or picnics on the beach.
Linda immigrated to NZ with her family in 2006 from South Africa. As a dedicated mum, wife, friend and sister in God, Linda has always been a support to those around her. She is an active part of her community and gives back where she can. Linda’s MS journey started in 2007 when she started to experience difficulty walking. In 2016, a year after Linda started her own business, she started to experience double vision. In June 2016 at the age of 40, she was diagnosed with Relapsing Remitting MS, where patients have relapses of MS and periods of stability in between relapses. Linda has actively worked on getting stronger after these attacks, however the attacks have left lesions on her brain and a bigger one on her spine. These lesions have mainly affected the left side of her body. Over the last 2 years, her walking ability has slowly declined and today Linda struggles to walk without the assistance of a walking stick. Linda was recently diagnosed with Secondary Progressive MS which means that her symptoms will steadily get worse. 75%-80% of people diagnosed with Relapsing-Remitting MS will have their disease change to Secondary Progressive MS over time. Linda continues to work and has a passion for seeing others succeed in their business.
How is MS affecting Linda?
Linda has always been an active person and not being able to join her family in activities has been the hardest aspect to come to terms with regarding this disease. She was forced to miss out on her eldest daughter birthday celebration, walking through a forest, as she was not able to walk the short distance.
Karen Scott’s MS journey started at the age of 11, unbeknown to her. MS symptoms repeatedly appeared & subsided but nothing much was thought of it. At the age of 18 Karen received a lumber puncture, and even though the results were abnormal, she still did not receive a diagnosis. Over the next few years, Karen was made to feel like she was exaggerating her symptoms and it reached the point where she stopped going to the doctors even when she lost her eyesight for 36 hours. At the age of 25, after the right side of her body was severely affected, she was finally referred to a Neurologist and was then diagnosed with Relapsing-Remittance MS. A mere 9 years after her first diagnoses, at the age of 34, Karen was diagnosed with Secondary Progressive MS and her condition worsened significantly. Karen was successfully employed through her health struggles with MS, however had to step down from a management role when her symptoms worsened. Then she was made redundant due to Covid-19. She has since started her own business doing business consulting, and focusing on enabling small to medium enterprises gain an online presence since COVID-19 lockdowns. She has also ventured into a business in the Health and Wellbeing sector.
How is MS affecting Karen?
MS had a significant impact on Karen’s 15 year marriage and it unfortunately ended due to her increasing disabilities. Karen has since found love, and in 2014 they built a fully accessible house. MS has the obvious health and financial costs, but unfortunately there are other costs such as relationships, careers and self-esteem which are also greatly affected by MS.
John’s journey started in 2010 when he was diagnosed with MS. He has experienced gradual loss of mobility by way of his legs stiffening and losing feelings in his arms. Since 2016, John has required crutches to assist him in walking. Around home he uses a walker and often needs to resort to the use of a wheelchair as well.
How is MS affecting John?
At the time of his diagnoses John was still working for an engineering company. However due to his loss of mobility he has not been able to work in his field of expertise since 2016. John has recently succeeded in being employed as a Booth Attendant at Pick-A-Part in Hornby.
Nikki recently received her MS diagnosis in 2020. She currently works in the Disability Access sector. She is passionate about horses and with the help of her husband, Jono, she is an avid horse owner.
How is MS affecting Nikki?
Nikki’s mobility is slowly declining and this decline, combined with the MS fatigue, is starting to have a profound effect on Nikki’s day to day life. Tasks that were once manageable, are no longer possible. The Omeo would allow Nikki to remain active, independent and enable her to continue to work.
How will the Omeo help these 4 individuals?
During their test drives on the Omeo they experience a new sense of freedom since the limitations MS has caused them. The Omeo represents the restoration of independence to once active, and fully capable individuals. It will enable the recipients to perform the everyday tasks such as walking the dog or going to the dairy on their own which they may not have been able to enjoy for years. Not only does this tool empower these individuals, but it also has a major impact on their families.
As a close friend to Linda and seeing how MS started to affect her daily, it has saddened me to see her struggles. When I was saw a video of Linda chasing her daughter while testing the Omeo, it bought tears to my eyes. Please donate and share.
Money raised will go to Omeo's for each of our beneficiaries, along with special hoists for their vehicles and some home renovations to make access with Omeo possible. Additional funds will be donated to the MS Association NZ.