How did you come to be a peer support volunteer with MS Auckland?

I was approached by a Community Advisor and asked if I’d be happy to speak to people who were newly diagnosed. It was just Anu and I as Peer Support Volunteers initially, and it was pre Covid – perhaps four years ago. I was happy to do that, because I knew that there was nothing available for me in terms of peer support when I was first diagnosed, and it was such a scary time. I have spoken to people who are just so frightened. Hopefully something in our conversations will help a little or make them feel a little better! I thought we might be able to help by being that someone who understood. Anu and I were very busy for a while! Now there are five of us on the Peer Support team, and growing.

What keeps you going in the role?

I enjoy connecting with others and helping people. At the World MS Day event recently, I felt like I was connecting with my second family. We share trust, warmth and even some humour. A strong network!

Tell us what you enjoy

I enjoy fishing and playing games, especially card games, and spending time with my girls: good, meaningful chats about life over the dinner table! I make sure I allocate time every day just for me. Walks fill my cup, too.

If you could invite any famous person for dinner, who would it be and why?

Two people, my Nana whom I was with when she passed away in 1994. I would love to have dinner with her, she was amazing. The other person passed away in 2014, my stepfather who was the most amazing man in my life. There were seven kids between the families and he was my father figure; a kind, generous, lovely and fun person. I would love to have dinner with him! Oh, someone famous? Patrick Swayze for his moves of course!

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