by MARY MAGEE
Sarah and Alan Crawford.
LISBURN girl Sarah Crawford, who once went to Trinity Methodist Church in her PJ's to raise £800 for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, is urging people to support this year's Cake Bake for the charity.
Sarah, 17, whose father Alan has been a sufferer from the condition for ten years, is herself taking part in the Cake Bake in May at her own home off the Nettlehill Road. It's a fund-raising initiative which will highlight the charity and help raise much needed funds.
The Hunterhouse student was at the top of Victoria Square Dome Belfast recently to launch Cake Break which is sponsored by Wright's Baking and takes place on Friday May 4, during MS Week (April 30 - May 6).
Sarah's father has been suffering from MS for the past decade. Alan worked with the fire service and attended the gym, but was diagnosed with MS after suffering from numbness to his arms and legs. At first it was thought he had ME but a series of tests showed MS.
Sarah was very young at the time and the diagnosis came as a big shock to the entire family.
MS is the most common disabling neurological condition affecting young adults and an estimated 100,000 people in the UK have it. It is the result of damage to myelin — the protective sheath surrounding nerve fibers of the central nervous system — which interferes with messages between the brain and the body.
For some people, MS is characterised by periods of relapse and remission while for others it has a progressive pattern.
Symptoms range from loss of sight and mobility, fatigue, depression and cognitive problems. There is no cure and few effective treatments.
Sarah said, "Dad did not tell people because he simply could not explain his condition to people and didn't know what to say. What do you say to people, how do you explain it?"
Alan's condition means that he occasionally relapses but is not, like many sufferers, wheelchair bound. "My mum and I have to keep on top of everything to make sure that he is not doing too much," she said.
Two years ago Sarah began to support MS Society and did some fundraising. She raised £800 when she and other members of the praise group of her church wore pyjamas to church.
Patricia Gordon Director of the MS Society NI said: "Cake Break is a fun way to raise vital funds for the MS Society. Although the official date is Friday May 4 it can happen any time- that's the glory of it.
"It's so exciting to see people taking Cake Break to new heights, quite literally. If you want to get involved in the fun order a host pack today and get baking to beat MS."
An estimated 100,000 people are living with MS in the UK however there's currently no cure and few effective treatments available. Your support will make a real difference to people living with MS by providing support and services and funding vital research.
For more information on Cake Break log onto their website www.mssociety.org.uk/cakebreak