An Aberdeen woman diagnosed with multiple sclerosis says it took two years for her to say her diagnosis out loud.
Katie Reekie was 24 when she was told by doctors that she had MS.
Despite a high prevalence of the condition in Scotland – with people aged between 20 and 40 most affected – Katie felt there was no support for young people.
To help make sure no one faces the diagnosis alone, she has set up a new support group in the city.
She first felt changes in her body two years ago when she kept falling while running.
She told STV News: “When I was running, I would fall quite a lot and I thought it was weird – because I couldn’t lift my foot.
“Then the morning when it all happened, I woke up and I couldn’t really see.
“It was almost like there was something almost covering my eye.
“At the time we were told that I had MS but that was it, I was given a pamphlet and you just go home.
“The doctors and nurses are a fabulous team but it’s not really a person-centred approach.”
Katie said the days and weeks that followed were lonely and confusing, for both her and her family.
Her mum, Amanda says she couldn’t understand the diagnosis.
“It was absolutely shocking,” she said.
“Katie from a child has loved sport and I have spent lots of early mornings at the swimming pool and cross country – just all sports.
“I love her, she is my precious commodity – my two daughters are – and if I could swap my brain and my spinal cord I would do it today, this minute, but unfortunately, we know there is not a cure.
“But there is a lot of stuff to be positive about and Katie is. I am so proud of her, that she is looking at a group for younger people.”
Katie is now on a mission to make sure young people with the condition in the north east have a space to talk about their experiences.
She has founded the MS Support Group Aberdeen, for young people diagnosed with the condition living in the city.
She hopes this new group will bring young people together to create friendships but also ensure no one has to face MS alone.
So far, around 20 people have shown interest in the group which is planning it’s first session in the next few weeks.
Paula Beattie and Colin Wallace have already joined. Paula was diagnosed recently this year, but Colin has lived with MS for six years.
Meeting all together for the first time, Paula said: “I have not experienced much locally in terms of support groups.
“It’s really exciting to see something new and something local – you do see a lot of national MS groups and societies but it’s very much online based and I love the idea that this is in person.”
“I looked into it,” Colin said.
“But a lot of it was geared towards elderly and not within my age demographic.
“Having the opportunity to meet other like-minded people and chat things through, have coffee or a drink is really good.”
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