Andy Walsh is a Mayo man living with multiple sclerosis since 2020, and has been chosen as one of the “faces” for MS Ireland’s World MS Day campaign.
World MS Day tomorrow, 30th May, takes place annually and aims to raise awareness and support for people living with Multiple Sclerosis, the most common debilitating neurological condition affecting young adults in Ireland.
This day of celebration brings the global MS community together to share stories, raise awareness and campaign for everyone affected by Multiple Sclerosis.
The theme of the “Faces of MS” exhibition featuring Andy Walsh in the St Stephen’s Green Centre in Dublin in partnership with Novartis is to highlight and challenge the perceptions of what people living with MS look like and are capable of.
Multiple Sclerosis is different for each person impacted by it. They experience different symptoms, with different degrees of severity for different amounts of time. There is no one way to ‘have’ MS, there is no one way to live with MS. The aim of the exhibition is to showcase a range of experiences so people will better understand that MS is a very individual condition.
While Andy from Ballinrobe, has experienced some MS related challenges including issues with walking, he has not let this hold him back. He has a very positive mindset. Andy loves all sports, but especially high adrenaline motorsport where he has a high profile in the Irish motorsport scene as he interviews crews on Facebook Live at the end of a stage at rallies with an online following of over 60,000 people.
Describing his MS diagnosis, Andy said l said “I use the phrase ‘mixed blessing’ to describe my Multiple Sclerosis, because I have changed and improved my lifestyle massively since my diagnosis and I count myself lucky to be able reframe the priorities in my life.
“I am currently on a fantastic treatment plan, and coupled with a work-life balance, that prior to diagnosis was pretty hectic, but there’s a whole new structure now with a renewed focus on what’s really important.
“I can confidently say that through the lifestyle changes I’ve made to live with MS, I am physically, mentally, and emotionally healthier now than I was before. Sounds counter-intuitive, but I am an improved version of me because of it”
MS Ireland is holding events and activities to raise awareness on World MS Day through its network of local branches and regional offices throughout Ireland with all details on their dedicated webpage https://www.ms-society.ie/world-ms-day-2023