Almost a decade ago, New York born, Castleisland resident, Elizabeth Cusick-Nolan was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis – or MS in its abbreviated form.
Since then she has become a campaigner and an energetic supporter of the MS Ireland Read-a-thon through schools in the locality.
Recently she has also been appointed to an ambassadorial role for MS Ireland and she is throwing herself into the role with an infectious enthusiasm.
“I have MS – It does not have me,” – is her catch cry as she goes about her daily business.
On Friday afternoon, Elizabeth gave a talk to a room full of Read-a-thon enthusiasts with their teacher, Céitilís Ní Bheaglaoich at Gaelscoil Aogáin.
She is full of praise for the pupils and teachers who take on the task every year to raise vital funds for MS Ireland.
“It’s a life-changing diagnosis for sure – but you know what – I’m livin’ everyday as it comes and the help that’s out there now is just amazing,” said Elizabeth after her school talk and in that unmistakable NY accent.
“As a mother of five, a wife and a part time worker, being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis eight years ago was a devastating diagnosis, but expected.
I knew for a year prior to that there was something wrong with me. Working in a hospital environment, I had a fair idea what it was. I tried on multiple occasions to get it confirmed, but as Multiple Sclerosis is often referred to as “the snowflake disease”, because of it’s unpredictability and variation to each person affected, it is difficult.
“With a lot of persistence and help from my GP, Dr. Justin Joyce and my neurologist, Dr. Helena Moore, a diagnosis was achieved and my life had now changed. I must take medication to control my disease.
“I have MS , it does not have me. I appreciate my life, I look at things so much differently, and embrace the challenge I’ve been given. My family, friends and the MS society have been absolute pillars of support.
“I became an ambassador for the MS society last year to try and give back a portion of what they have given me. It is so important to have someone on the other end of the phone, when you are facing the unknown. The MS society was there for me.
“We try to raise money wherever possible, as it is not government funded. We are starting off the MS readathon this month and it is in operation for the last 25 years. It gives schools and especially young people a chance to get involved. The reading that can be accomplished, along with the understanding of why they are doing it, is phenomenal.
“For now my disease is benign, I am not symptomatic, it could change tomorrow. I take everyday as it comes, hope for the best, expect the worst, have a positive outlook always,” said Elizabeth.
How to get involved in Readathon
Teachers and their students are being invited to embark on more reading adventures for this year’s MS Read-a-thon? It’s all happening this year from next Friday, 9th October to 9th November.
The MS Read-a-thon began over 25 years ago and thanks to the generosity and eager participation of so many schools it is still going strong. The funds raised by the teachers and pupils in local schools help people living with Multiple Sclerosis right there in their own communities. Elizabeth Cusick-Nolan can be contacted on: firstname.lastname@example.org