16 JUNE 2021

At 17, Kiarah was an athletic young woman, enjoying playing representative netball and immersed in the final year of high school.

She felt initial symptoms of pins and needles that started in her stomach and then continued down to her legs. In addition, Kiarah had blurred vision, difficulties with speech, memory, and extreme fatigue. When she could not feel her numb feet, her GP sent her to the emergency department.

The neurologist asked Kiarah to do one squat and she couldn’t. Kiarah was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Kiarah described that “Multiple sclerosis is such a silent disease, so sometimes when I can’t speak or forget things, I just look silly.”

Kiarah reflects on her journey so far “Life with MS for myself has changed, in the sense of I have now lived with my MS diagnosis for four years, and I learn more about myself and MS every day.” Now with careful and precise fatigue management, fuelling her body with nutritious food and keeping active Kiarah is enjoying life and feels there is so much to do! “I am lucky enough to live in a very supportive environment where if I am struggling, I do have people that will help and support me where needed”, she acknowledges. Kiarah, along with over 100 family and friends, participated in the MS Melbourne Run + Ride Festival in 2019 (formerly the MS Melbourne Cycle + Half Marathon) raising funds for people with MS. With a sense of optimism since receiving her diagnosis Kiarah continues to overcome the challenges that come with living with the chronic neurological disease.

“After the support I received in 2019 I was absolutely amazed. I would never have thought I would have that many people behind me, cheering me on. And it is much more than (that), they were supporting a whole community of people who also have multiple sclerosis”.