Read about supporters who continue to ensure that no one has to face MS alone.

Meet Laura

I am sharing my story with you today because you also have a personal connection with MS. I want to share with you something that has given me great joy. It is something you might consider too. I have put MS Plus in my Will. And here’s why…

Read Laura’s story ›

 

How I Have Made My Blessed Life Even Better

Many people I talk to have multiple sclerosis (MS). They have shared their stories of struggle and at times, despair. Theirs is not an easy journey. It has made me wonder what else can I do to help.

Until a few years ago, I did not know much about this devastating disease. But I have seen how nothing is certain when someone receives this frightening diagnosis.

I am sharing my story with you today because you also have a personal connection with MS. I want to share with you something that has given me great joy. It is something you might consider too.

I have put MS Plus in my Will. And here’s why…

I know from personal experience how important it is not to be alone. I know you do too. I was born in Lima, Peru. My family was very loving and caring. I was very lucky. I came from an affluent part of society. My parents always taught us to treat everyone with dignity and respect. Father insisted, through his example, that we share with those that did not have as much.

When I came to Australia, I left behind the support of a large family. But I was soon made to feel at home, through my church and school. You know, the kind of personal support you need when facing a life-threatening diagnosis. As a cancer survivor, I have a close understanding of how important information and support are. It can make the world of difference on how you can face it!

I have for many years worked in both corporate and in not-for-profit organisations. Like you, I have seen plenty of acts of generosity first-hand, whether it was from donations or from time or expertise given by volunteers. When I joined MS Plus, I was impressed by the dedication of its staff to live up to their mission. Here everyone strives to ensure ‘no one faces MS alone.’

And this is where my decision to put MS Plus in my Will came in.

Having experienced the love and help from people in my time of need, I understand why this is crucial. I have now, like you, been touched in my life from the stories of people living with MS. Now I want to do something beyond my current support.

This is an expression of my values. As you and I know, having people standing with us is critical. So, I have been thinking of my long-term legacy and the example I will be leaving behind for my children.

Like you, I am very proud now that I can do my part to make this a better world for those living with MS. I want to be part of this mission, even when I am no longer here. As my Greek friends would say, “Philotimo”! I know this word captures well what my parents taught me. (‘Philo’ means friend and ‘timi’ means doing something honourable, something good.)

I encourage you to think about leaving MS Plus Limited a gift in your Will. It’s not a difficult thing to do and it will give you a deep sense of satisfaction.

You too can be part of the fight against MS, by helping people with MS live the best life they can.

Many of MS Plus supporters like to include a gift in their Wills. You have supported the fight against MS before. By leaving a gift in your Will, this is a wonderful way to continue your support. It is about the values we share and those that you hold dear in your heart.

Thank you for your time and for reading my story.

Meet Rod

“An enduring love” – MS has so many unsung heroes, this is one such story.

Read Rod’s story ›
When Rod Miller and Lynette Leber married in 1993, the future looked bright.

The couple, in their 30s, looked forward to setting up a home together in Queensland after months of commuting between Brisbane and Melbourne, Lynette’s hometown.

But three years into the marriage, Rod was worried about his wife. The highly qualified accountant couldn’t hold down a job. She said Queensland was the problem and insisted they move to Sydney for a fresh start.

But things didn’t get better.

“She’d go in, get a job. She’d do a day’s work; then, on day two, they’d let her go. No one would say why. It was a wall of silence,” Rod recalled.

Rod noticed Lynette was “going haywire” at home too. She’d forget the groceries, lose house keys, had trouble with stairs.

But friends told Lynette it was other people being awful. Reassured, she didn’t see a doctor.

Once lively and fun-loving, Lynette sank into a depression. She saw four psychiatrists in quick succession.

The couple split up, and Lynette moved back to Melbourne. But they soon reconciled, with Rod regularly commuting so they could work on their marriage.

A friend who’d arranged a bookkeeping job for Lynette in Melbourne told Rod she’d been fired for incompetence. The friend was baffled.

She got fired from 17 jobs. Unemployed and unemployable, Lynette had a breakdown.

While hospitalised, she saw a neurologist who suspected she had multiple sclerosis (MS). An MRI confirmed the tell-tale lesions and damage to parts of her brain.

After three stressful years, the couple had the answer for Lynette’s cognitive issues.

“We had no idea Lynette had MS. Her presentation was unusual. Often, it attacks the legs first. But she had cognitive impairment. We didn’t know much about the disease,” said Rod.

“We wasted precious time. The earlier you start treatment, the better your chance of slowing the disease’s progression,” he added.

The neurologist put the couple in touch with MS Plus. They attended presentations and received emotional support and expert advice on living with the condition.

Lynette and Rod decided to enjoy life while they could. They went to South Africa, travelling the famous Garden Route. They often visited friends and family in Queensland and Western Australia.

They saw plays and movies, went on picnics, enjoyed dinners out.

Two years after her diagnosis, Lynette developed epilepsy. The seizures resulted in Todd’s paresis, a syndrome associated with weakness or paralysis in the body. She had to stay in a rehab hospital each time to recover.

At 40, Lynette couldn’t live at home anymore. MS Plus staff found Lynette a place in their long-term care residence in Williamstown, a seaside suburb of Melbourne.

To keep close to Lynette, Rod bought a house on the same street as the residence. He visits every day.

“She’s my reason for living, and we’re closer than ever.”

Recently she developed dementia and type one diabetes, making her needs more complicated.

The couple never had children. So, when Rod, now 72, started thinking about his Will, he decided 50 per cent of his estate would go to their respective nieces and nephews. MS Plus would get the other half.

He is happy for his gift to go to research or enhanced support services, wherever it can be helpful.

“MS’s work is vital to help people have a better quality of life. One day there will be a cure. I’m happy to leave them a legacy so they can continue their work,” he said.

While life hasn’t dealt Lynette a great hand, Rod said she’ll always have his support and that of friends and family.

“She’s my reason for living, and we’re closer than ever,” he said.

Meet Marjorie

Marjorie talks about her first husband’s diagnosis with MS in the 1960’s and the reasons why she has left a gift in her Will to MS Plus.

Read Marjorie’s story ›

‘John, my first husband was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the 1960’s… I did not receive any financial help or other assistance, though I wish I had. That was government policy at the time.’ Those were very, very tough times for John and Marjorie.

‘In the 60’s the role of the then Multiple Sclerosis Society of NSW was not so well known, and we had little contact. However, family and friends were of tremendous help. Eventually I was able to take six months long service leave to be with him. I am so grateful that at was with him at the time of his death in 1972.’

Living through that difficult time gave Marjorie a first-hand understanding of the challenges people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) face. ‘I learnt how informed, caring and expert support can make a huge difference to the whole family.’

Marjorie has seen the impact that multiple sclerosis has on everyone. As a social worker, she also saw it with her clients. This personal experience aided her decision to support MS Plus. She decided to help now and for well into the future.

She has joined the ‘MS Callistemon League’. She is leaving a legacy of her love via a gift in her Will to MS Plus.

“I have lived through it.. so MS is a cause close to my heart.”

Marjorie comments on how critical support from MS also extends into regional areas. As it is the case with Marjorie’s niece, who lives in Armidale. She has multiple sclerosis and is benefitting from the services that MS offers.

Marjorie’s decision to leave a legacy gift is a very strong statement of her values. She supports the rights of those facing health and other challenges. Marjorie stands for human rights for all. She doesn’t want anyone to face MS alone.

Marjorie’s legacy will serve as an example for her stepchildren and step-grandchildren. Encouraging them to also live by these caring and supportive values.

She tells us: ‘I have lived through it… so MS is a cause close to my heart”.
Marjorie encourages others to join her in her quest to ensure ‘no one needs to face MS alone.’

Meet Susan

Susan has always been known to be full of life, infectious laughter and joy for life. It did not take her long to evaluate how she could best face this new challenge, with the help of her family, friends and MS Plus.

Read Susan’s story ›
Every year more than 600 people are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). It is a diagnosis that often hits people extremely hard. It can also be at times, devastating. No doubt, this disease presents a challenge that can feel for some, at times, unsurmountable.

It was fourteen years ago when Susan had to face this stark reality. She was working at Woolworths and was looking forward to starting a family with the love of her life, Tim. However, the reality of her health situation somewhat changed this course.

Susan has always been known to be full of life, infectious laughter and joy for life. It did not take her long to evaluate how she could best face this new challenge, with the help of her family, friends and MS (MS Plus).

As the disease progressed, she had to abandon her job at Woolworths. However, she was determined to continue to be ‘independent and useful’. As well as her dream of a family. This came through in 2009 when Rowan, her son, was born.

Susan was on a courageous and determined path. She dedicated herself to learn more about MS and how she could help others in a similar situation to herself. “I find that in life if you help others you get much more returned to you.” Thus, Susan became a proud MS Peer Support Volunteer.

Having recently completed an 8-week course: Women with a Disability, she is looking forward to doing a “Certificate III in Community Care”.

Nowadays Susan must rely 80% of her time on the use of a wheelchair, as her physical ability is limited. ‘However, I can use my voice to help others and with the training I am doing, I should be able to further this help.”

Susan tells us that she has benefitted from many of the services that MS provides. She has accessed expert advice and support for herself and her family. Additionally, the opportunity that MS offers to help others is something that empowers her and keeps her strong.

“I don’t feel alone… I know MS and my family are behind me all the way.”

Susan is indefatigable: she has instigated local events and has participated in many others. Events such as the famous Melbourne Walk Fun Run to the Melbourne Cycle, the Mega Swim and Gift Wrapping.

“I used to be an ‘MS Angel” too for the MS Readathon, so I was delighted when I was able to support its re-launch last year.”

“I have an extremely supportive group of family (especially my husband Tim and my son Rowan) and many dear friends that come from afar to participate in fundraising activities with me. They are my rock.

My family and I have attended a couple of MS family camps. This is the kind of support that makes a great difference to our lives.

Some time ago I decided to leave a legacy of love in my Will to MS Plus.

I wanted to be part of the future of MS and contribute so they will have the resources to continue to help and support people with MS. I believe it is very important that ‘no one has to face MS alone, now or in the future’.

I am thrilled that I am giving my money to a worthy cause and leaving a legacy that will help others with MS. This was a very easy decision as it is one more way that I can be useful and give back to my community.

I would encourage others to do so. I personally believe in doing what you can to help others. It is my life quest to provide support where I can especially in relation to MS which is a life changing illness.”

Meet Dr Ken Doyle

Dr Ken Doyle knows a gift in his Will can help fast-track a cure for MS. That’s why he hopes you’ll create your own lasting legacy for the next generations.

Read Dr Ken Doyle's story ›

Dr Ken Doyle has always been interested in cutting-edge research – but when it comes to multiple sclerosis (MS), his interest is personal. Ken wants to fast-track a cure by ensuring MS research is appropriately funded.

That’s why I’d really encourage everyone to leave a gift in their Will to MS Plus,” he says.

With as little as one per cent of your estate, you can create an enduring legacy that will transform and save lives in years to come. Your gift to the future could be a world free from MS.

Dr Doyle has seen first-hand the difference that research can make. As an innovation specialist, he advised higher education leaders across the Asia–Pacific, and was also involved in the development of the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).

Ken’s journey with MS began in the 1980s when he first noticed symptoms, but it wasn’t until 1992 that he received his diagnosis. Over time, MS has affected more of his mobility and activity levels – but it certainly has not stopped him. Now 86 years old, Ken remains the President of the UTS Kuring-gai Staff Alumni.

Dr Doyle also contributes to MS research as a participant in the Australian MS Longitudinal Study – a survey-based research project jointly run by the University of Tasmania and MS Australia, which provides real-time data to improve medical and support services for people who live with MS.

I am passionate about doing what I can to help researchers find a cure as soon as possible,” Ken says. “In the meantime, I’m hugely appreciative of all the care and support offered by MS Plus.

Dr Doyle recently received financial assistance to purchase an air conditioning unit through MS Plus – which will make a huge difference to his quality of life, as anyone who lives with MS and struggles in the heat will understand.

Another reason Dr Doyle is encouraging others to leave a gift in their Will is because the MS Plus and MS Australia newsletters have been a valuable resource that helps him keep up to date with the latest research.

It’s very important for people who live with MS to have easy access to clear information about advances in our understanding of the disease, new treatments, and support services,” Ken says.

By choosing to leave a gift in your own Will, you can improve support for future generations of people who live with MS and help find a cure.

If you’d like to know more about leaving a gift in your Will to MS Plus, please contact our friendly Gifts in Wills Manager, Laura Henschke. You can reach Laura by free call

1800 443 867 or email Laura.Henschke@ms.org.au

You can also find more information here, at https://mymslegacy.org.au

Together, we can fast-track a cure and ensure future generations of people who live with MS continue to receive the best possible care until we get there.

Meet Nigel Caswell

Engineering a way to help people with MS

Nigel Caswell wasn’t sure about attending his first multiple sclerosis (MS) conference.

“I was afraid, wondering if I’d see what my future held,” said Nigel, who was diagnosed with MS in 1993.

But the former civil engineer was glad he went because it changed his life.

Read Nigel's story ›

More than two decades later, the 78-year-old Bentleigh resident received MS Australia’s John Studdy Award for his service to others living with the neurological condition.

Nigel’s volunteer work for the MS community began when he came across an ambassador’s stall at the conference.

“They were recruiting people who were willing to go out into the community and talk about MS. I like public speaking, and I’m a blue sky kind of person. I felt I could help,” he said.

Nigel has been an MS Plus ambassador and MS Australia advocate for 28 years. For MS Plus, he speaks to community groups, schools and other organisations. His advocacy work involves lobbying politicians.

He’s also given time to other causes. In 2013, Nigel received a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his varied contributions.

“I’m not the sort to let the grass grow under my feet.

“Volunteering has helped me to live with MS and turn something that might seem like bad luck into an advantage.

I’m sure I get more attention because some people don’t expect someone in a wheelchair to have intelligent remarks to make.” 

When Nigel started having health issues, it took years to get an accurate diagnosis. He underwent several unpleasant tests and a complicated operation that didn’t solve the mystery. Five years later, MRI technology provided the answer: progressive MS.

In some ways, the diagnosis was a relief. At least Nigel knew what he was dealing with and could access support and treatment.

After his diagnosis, Nigel was able to continue working as a senior executive at Parks Victoria for several years. He later became a marriage and funeral celebrant.

Now retired, Nigel enjoys caravan touring with Stevie, his wife. He also likes painting watercolours and spending time with his two sons and four granddaughters.

These days, he gets around in a walker at home and a wheelchair when he goes out. Despite this, he feels lucky.

Being an MS ambassador and donor are two ways Nigel has thanked MS Plus staff for their support.

Now he’s adding something else: a gift in his Will.

“A bequest is a logical extension of my MS ambassador role. It will help keep my work going after I’m gone

“It’s important to help fund research that will lead to better treatments. The current drugs have unpleasant side effects. It would be great to have better ones available.”

But a cure would be even better.

“It might not be there in time to help me, but if my gift can help others receive a cure, that’s a good thing in my book,” he said.

Fast-track a cure for MS, care until we’re there.

Protect future generations from MS.

Could you be like Nigel and help others with MS? It’s easy to leave a gift in your Will. Even 1% of what is left after taking care of family and friends. Ask Laura or Rebecca at MS Plus. Call 1800 443 867, email futureplanning@ms.org.au or visit www.mymslegacy.org.au

Meet Ben Holgate

MS Plus employee Ben Holgate says he wants to give something back to the charity where he’s worked for the past five years.

“It’s the clients and people I work with that make it a special place,” said Ben, executive manager of strategic fundraising.

Read Ben's story ›
Ben Holgate“Before I came to work here, I didn’t know many people living with MS. Since then, I’ve met plenty of wonderful men and women living with the condition. Our clients are remarkable people doing amazing things despite the massive challenges they often face daily.

Ben said MS Plus was doing exceptional work through support services to help people cope and funding research. It was another reason he was planning to leave a gift in his Will to his employer.

When he started working for MS Plus, Ben was surprised to learn that multiple sclerosis was the most common acquired chronic neurological disease affecting young adults, often diagnosed between the ages of 20 to 40. This made him think about how he could do more to help.

He did what he could in his role. He helped hone fundraising events like the well-loved MS Sydney to the Gong bike ride and introduced the charity’s lottery program to help keep dollars rolling in. The much-loved MS Readathon was also relaunched and was once again a great success.

In his own time, Ben participated in the “Conquer Cradle Mountain to Beat MS” challenge in Tasmania, where he raised over $3,000 through peer-to-peer fundraising.

Then he got another idea from his future strategic planning manager.

Laura Henschke, originally from Peru, told him about her plan to leave a gift in her Will to MS Plus as a thank you for a great life in Australia. After thinking about it, Ben decided he would do the same.

When he turned 61, he went to a lawyer to update his will and, after making provisions for his family, included a gift to MS Plus.

“I’m committed to helping the cause,” he said.

Ben wants to help keep the lights on:

As for where Ben would like his gift to go, he’s thinking outside the box.

“So many people want to put a gift in their Will towards research to find a cure for MS, which is excellent. I understand why they would do that. But I’m going to do something different.

It’s important to leave something in the general pot to help the organisation keep the lights on. Also to pay bills and staff. All charities need offices, furniture, accountants, program managers and IT people to function,” he said.

A gift in your Will costs nothing right now, but will have a profound impact on the future for people who live with MS. Like Ben, you can leave a legacy of care and lifechanging kindness.

Meet Simon Inwards

The power of music, and the pursuit of a passion, have helped Simon stay positive while learning to live with his MS. 

When he started having symptoms in 2003, Simon was diagnosed with a number of conditions including repetitive strain injuries and carpal tunnel syndrome. The possibility he had Multiple Sclerosis (MS) didn’t even come up.

Read Simon's story ›

Simon Inwards and his partner NanIt took three years to be accurately diagnosed. Then Simon faced medical retirement at just 49. He struggled to process this sudden end to his computer software career. “I resisted and tried to continue working, only to have a nervous breakdown at work,” Simon says.

Over the next 18 months he regained control of his life.

Simon has always loved music. While growing up in The Netherlands, he played bass in a high-school rock band called Anacrusis. As he came to terms with having MS, Simon decided to reconnect with his creative side. He was bringing Anacrusis back!

It was hard to play instruments because of MS, so Simon learned to make music with software instead. He set up a studio at his home in Canberra and began to experiment with digital art.

Simon is now a recording artist.
He moved to Thailand in 2019 with his partner Nan, and two dogs Clem and Mi. He is mixing, mastering and recording tracks at his second home studio. He released his first EP, and within months he’d made a whole album, Sounds from Many Scars. You can hear Simon’s music online.

These days, Simon sees his MS in a positive light, because it gave him time to focus on music. His new motto, Think Positive, is tattooed on his arm. But he acknowledges the journey’s been hard.

He’s grateful for the care and support of the MS community. After his diagnosis, Simon’s neurologist suggested he visit a nearby MS Plus branch. He learned how to administer injectable treatments, but he also connected with a wonderful counsellor who he says saved him.

“The counsellor helped me learn to live with an incurable illness and accept my new normal.” He says it was also helpful and uplifting to get regular updates about MS research that was being funded by the MS community.

Now Simon is paying it forward.

Simon’s mother, Brenda, included MS Plus in her Will, and inspired Simon to do the same. He says the process itself was very straightforward. He talked about his gift with his adult children — who fully support his decision — and gave his instructions to the solicitor. That’s it.

Most importantly, including a gift in his Will to MS Plus has given Simon a great sense of satisfaction. He says, “If my gift can help current and future people living with MS, in some small way to better manage their condition, I’ll be happy.”

You can help fast-track a cure as well.

You can fund more brilliant research, and make sure services and support continue to give people like Simon the best possible quality of life — by leaving a gift in your Will. Even 1% or 2% of what is left after gifts to family and friends can make a huge difference. It costs nothing now, but changes so many lives into the future.

Meet Ken and Marilyn Collins

Ken and Marilyn’s legacy has been formalised via a gift in their Will to MS Plus. As members of the “MS Callistemon League”, they are part of a most loving group of Benefactors who want to continue to support our mission and vision well into the future.

Read Ken and Marilyn's story ›

Benefactors, MS Callistemon League

Ken was diagnosed with MS in 2005. However, his symptoms had baffled the medical community for years (since his early 20’s, he thinks) and he was diagnosed with a variety of different medical conditions, including stroke. In 2005 he was referred to a neurologist and after many tests an MRI finally confirmed what was really confronting him.

Ken and Marilyn do not want people facing multiple sclerosis alone, they will be there with them, every step of the way, while the search for a cure continues.

Whatever the amount, we’re extremely grateful for any gift left to MS Plus. It will provide vital support so people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) can live the best life possible.

Staying positive is the focus of Ken’s life as he faces his daily challenges (check his Facebook page: MS positives).

Being global, via the computer, Ken continues his involvement with the MS community. This is his life quest and life legacy: to continue to make people aware of what is multiple sclerosis, how it affects you and how you benefit from all the advancements that have happened in the last few years, maintaining a very positive attitude.

Ken was born in Goondiwindi, Queensland and moved to New Zealand to work and study. Here he learnt to fly and obtained his private pilot licence. Ken then realised that his real love was aircraft engineering and after qualifying for this came back to Australia and worked for Ansett. It was here, when in Dubbo, that he met Marilyn, the love of his life. They married and have been together for over 45 years. Marilyn, a former school teacher, lovingly and cheerfully cares for him as his life partner.

Ken’s ‘first life’, whilst he was still undiagnosed, involved being very active in his local community, including being President of the Jaycees and Probus Clubs.

He cares deeply for his fellow human beings, especially those affected by multiple sclerosis, and he wants to be there with them in their journey, helping them, even after his own lifetime.

“Whatever the amount, we’re extremely grateful for any gift left to MS Plus. It will provide vital support so people living with multiple sclerosis can live the best life possible.”

 

– Ken and Marilyn Collins

Meet Wendy Oliver

Upon leaving home at 19, Wendy joined the Salvation Army as a Minister and later moved around Tasmania and Victoria doing social work before relocating to Brazil in 1980, as a Missionary, to continue helping others. Due to illness, Wendy returned to Australia in December 1989 and was diagnosed with MS in 2002.

Read Wendy's story ›

Wendy Oliver was born in October of 1949 in Geelong, the middle child of Roy and Vera Oliver. When her mother passed away, Wendy took on most home responsibilities, aged just 10. Upon leaving home at 19, Wendy joined the Salvation Army as a Minister and later moved around Tasmania and Victoria doing social work before relocating to Brazil in 1980, as a Missionary, to continue helping others.

In Brazil, Wendy started the Salvation Army’s social work in the North-East of the country, helping people affected by poverty, drought, and prostitution. She also adopted a girl named Cristiana (Cris), who was a street child before meeting Wendy.

Due to illness, Wendy returned to Australia in December 1989 and was diagnosed with MS in 2002.

“At that time, I knew nothing about MS and the diagnosis came as a shock to me.”

Following the diagnosis, Wendy chose to pursue adventure by going scuba diving, kayaking and climbing the Harbour Bridge, to name a few.

“I knew that within too long, I wouldn’t be able to achieve these experiences.”

“I know the struggle and I wish to help others in their journey.”

Despite being sick, Wendy was determined to continue her work with the Salvation Army. When support was needed, Wendy used MS Plus services and her friend Glenda kindly became her carer. This helped Wendy continue to work until her retirement in 2014, aged 65.

“I have had an amazing career and am grateful for all the experiences I had during that time. Although I am now retired, I continue to still be active, assisting each week at a local Salvation Army centre providing meals for disadvantaged people.”

Alongside her career, Wendy has also made a huge contribution to MS Plus.

“Each year I enjoy taking part in fundraising events, including the Swimathon and Walk and Fun Run, where I am supported and joined by my family. I have also volunteered for the MS Peer Support Program, and won the MS Go for Gold Scholarship in 2004. This allowed me to achieve my dream of travelling to Cape York and stepping on the tip of Australia, which I achieved using walking sticks. This was truly a wonderful experience and I would not have been able to do it without the award.”

Wendy is part of our community of supporters who have generously decided to leave a gift in their Will to MS Plus.

“I have included a gift in my Will for MS Plus as I am so grateful for the assistance provided to me. I am also passionate about supporting the goal of providing resources and options which help people living with MS live meaningful lives.”

Meet Lindsay

Lindsay feels a strong connection with people living with multiple sclerosis. Through his contact with MS Plus, he has learned much about the work MS Plus does.

Read Lindsay's story ›

A decision that made me very happy

Kentucky south is a very small country town in NSW. Located 21 km from the larger Uralla. In the 1950’s it only had a post office, a railroad shed and a bus shelter.

This is where Lindsay was born. As the third youngest from a family of ten children, Lindsay grew up within a close-knit family group. He especially recalls the affection and closeness with his aunt and uncle.

It was not long before Lindsay had to go further away, to the town of Barraba, to find work. He found employment in the mines. Here he drove 80 tonne dump trucks.

Now retired Lindsay feels a strong connection with people living with multiple sclerosis. Even though he has never met someone with this condition. Through his contact with MS Plus, he has learned much about the work MS Plus does.

He now wanted to leave behind a testament of his values and continued support. Thus, he has decided to leave a gift in his Will to MS Plus. The organisation that looks after the wellbeing of people living with multiple sclerosis.

 

Through MS Plus communications he finds out about the work that MS Plus does. Lindsay knows that he is supporting a charity that he trusts. It is the one that is ensuring people with multiple sclerosis do not have to face it alone, now or in the future.

Lindsay was very excited when he called us to let us know that he has included MS Plus in his Will. This decision made him feel very happy.

Want to feel very happy? Leave a message of your values.

Whatever the amount, we are grateful. Any gift big or small will make a difference. You will provide future vital support so people living with multiple sclerosis.

Meet Glenys

I want to share with you today because I was shaken by the possibility of my friend’s daughter being diagnosed with MS. Thus, I decided to do something positive about it.

Read Glenys' story ›
How a friend’s diagnosis changed my life for the better.

Multiple sclerosis! This was the announcement that greeted me when I went to see my dear friend Katie. She and her daughter had just returned from a visit to the doctor. We were both devastated at the news.

As a pharmacist, I understood well what this diagnosis meant. I had seen many people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) coming into the pharmacy. I knew very well what impact this could have on her life. We were both very shaken at the news. Fortunately, as it was to be, further investigation confirmed her daughter did not have MS. But that diagnosis had a big impact on me.

I want to share with you today because I was shaken by the possibility of my friend’s daughter being diagnosed with MS. Thus, I decided to do something positive about it.

I have put MS Plus in my Will. And here’s why…

This gives me a lot of satisfaction. It’s something you might consider too.

As you and I know, the only thing that’s certain about MS, is that nothing is certain.

While one person might live out their life with nothing more than a little muscle weakness, another might lose their ability to walk, to talk or swallow within the year. Understandably, this can be terrifying and totally devastating.

My own life has been so blessed… I have been given the good fortune to have grown within a loving family. My parents taught me to share my good fortune with others.

My journey through life, has given me two beautiful daughters and a supportive partner. I love to travel the world. I recently went on a trip to the legendary Silk Road, the islands of Sardinia and Corsica and Venice and Tuscany. Now, I would dearly want others to be able to enjoy life too.

I’m telling you all this because I know you fully understand that fighting multiple sclerosis is the battle of a lifetime. You also know that the best way to fight it is to stay active … and fight it together!

“No one needs to face MS alone, now or in the future.”

And that’s where my decision to put MS Plus in my Will comes in. This is an expression of my values. I have also been thinking about my long-term legacy, what I’m going to leave behind. We hope we make the world a better place because we’ve been here.

Of course, that means two great daughters who will continue to be loving and caring women with families of their own. It also means through my gift in my Will, no one needs to face MS alone, now or in the future.

My daughters know well that I want to do this. They’re very happy and support my decision.

Many of MS Plus supporters like to include a gift in their Wills. You have supported the fight against MS before. A gift in your Will is a way to continue this support. It is about the values we share and those that you hold dear in your heart.

Every time you think about the gift you will make, you will get a warm, happy feeling. Every gift, no matter what size, will make a difference. Because you’ll know you will be helping a person living with MS have a better life.

Thank you for reading this, and I hope things are going well for you.
Glenys

“No one needs to face MS alone, now or in the future.

 

– Glenys

A Tribute by Bob Webb in Honour of Judith

Judith Webb was a much-loved primary school teacher, volunteer, wife and mother. Her husband Bob says she was an “outgoing redhead with a terrific smile,” who always put others before herself.

“She loved helping people. When we lived in Canberra, she ran a popular church kids club, organised a drop-in centre and food parcels for needy people, and was a visitor at local aged care homes. When we were in London, she cooked Christmas dinner for homeless people,” recalled Bob.

Read Bob and Judith's story ›
Judith Webb

Judith and Bob first met at a youth hostel in Wales in 1966. They talked and laughed as they washed dishes in the communal kitchen. A year later, they married in London. Bob, who grew up on the south coast of England, was happy to follow Judith back to Sydney, where she returned to teaching and community volunteering, and he pursued a PhD in astrophysics. Bob went on to have a distinguished career in the private and public sectors, retiring to part-time sustainability research at the Australian National University, Canberra.

The couple, who had two children, lived in Sydney, Adelaide, Canberra and London during their 54 years together. As they entered their 60s, Bob and Judith looked forward to retirement. But in 2007, Judith started having unexpected falls. She undertook several tests, but it wasn’t until two years later the family learned that Judith, 66, had late onset primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS), a relatively unusual form of the disease.

“As a teacher, Judith encouraged students to do the MS Walkathons and Readathons to support people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Otherwise, we knew little about the disease. There was no family history, and we didn’t know anyone else who had it,” said Bob.

The couple turned to Gloria McKerrow House, an MS support centre in Canberra, for assistance. Staff provided practical tips on managing the condition, and Judith also went to the exercise classes tailored to MS patients.

But within a few years, she lost all mobility in her legs, the normal use of her arms and hands, and her eyesight deteriorated.

“There were no available treatments for PPMS then. Judith was brave and didn’t complain. But she found it hard that she became the one who had to be cared for instead of helping others,” said Bob.

Despite a valiant 10-year fight, Judith died in 2020 from an MS-related infection.

Motivated by a desire that others not be faced with the same experience, and as a tribute to Judith’s generosity and courage, Bob decided to allocate a portion of his Will to MS Plus for research. 

“After providing for our kids, Judith and I decided we would give money to overseas humanitarian causes, and to support MS Plus with the funding of MS research.”

Their daughter Kate supports their charitable intentions, and Bob believes their son Andrew, who sadly passed away in 2016, would have liked the plan too.

Today, Bob keeps abreast of international PPMS research developments, including those undertaken by MS Australia. Recently, the first-ever treatment for PPMS was TGA approved.

“It came too late to help Judith, but it should give hope to others,” he said.

“I hope further research will improve MS treatments and maybe even reverse this mean disease. That’s why part of my Will is going to MS Plus for research to remember a brave and loving woman and the people she would have wanted to help.

To learn how to support people with MS through a gift in your will, contact Laura or Rebecca on 1800 443 867, email futureplanning@ms.org.au, or visit www.mymslegacy.org.au.

A Tribute by Lin Wong in Honour of Deidre

When Lin Wong first proposed to his girlfriend Deidre Gaudion, she looked at him and said: “I’ve got something to tell you. I have MS. That’s your way out if you don’t want to marry me now.”

“I said it didn’t worry me,” recalled Lin, 69.

Read Lin and Deidre's story ›

Darrin Hill and family

The Melbourne couple, who were married for 38 years, first met at a party in the early 1980s. Lin, who worked in the transport industry, was “captivated by Deidre’s intelligence, eloquence and astuteness.”

As a young woman, Deidre worked in England as a PA. When she returned to Australia, she decided to become a teacher. For many years, she taught business studies at St Columba’s College, a Catholic girls’ school in Essendon. Later she became the career counsellor, helping the girls plan their working lives.

It was during her time in England that Deidre first started exhibiting MS symptoms. Eventually, she was diagnosed with secondary progressive MS.

“Deidre just carried on working. She didn’t want to let the principal or students down. She would just walk into the school and work. When walking got too hard, she used a walker. When she retired, she started using a wheelchair,” recalled Lin.

Helped others to cope

Deidre was always active. In her free time, she loved going to the theatre with Lin or her girlfriends. Deidre and Lin didn’t have children. But they had a dog and three cats, and Deidre lavished love on her ‘fur babies.’ She also collected porcelain dolls and dollhouse miniatures, spending hours organising her collection.

When Deidre left teaching, she became a volunteer counsellor at Royal Melbourne Hospital’s rehabilitation unit, where she’d been a patient herself.

For over four years, Lin drove her three days a week to her volunteer job. At the hospital, Deidre would go around in her wheelchair, chatting with patients in various stages of their disability journey.

“Deidre was a sympathetic ear if a patient needed to unload. Her career counselling background made her a great listener. She knew the nurses and could tell them how the patients were going,” recalled Lin.

Sadly, seven years later, Deidre went into palliative care at the hospital where she’d become a popular volunteer. She passed away, aged 69, in 2020.

But Deidre’s legacy will live on.

Twenty years earlier, Deidre and Lin sat down for a serious discussion about what they should do with their estate.

“Deidre wanted to plan for the future. Since we didn’t have kids, she suggested we might leave our money to charity. She wanted to help a pet charity with a gift in her will, but mostly she wanted to give back to MS Plus,” said Lin.

“It was a great idea. At this stage, I’m not sure whether I would like our gift to go towards research because while Deidre was keen to find a cure for MS, so many MS patients need services. I will likely contribute to both. My priority is to get my affairs in order with my solicitor,” said Lin.

Could you be like Lin and Deidre? If you want to know more about leaving a gift in your Will to MS Plus, ring Laura or Bec on 1800 443 867, email futureplanning@ms.org.au, or visit www.mymslegacy.org.au.

Remembering Gwen Gray

As a pioneering mechanical engineer, Gwen Gray was a woman ahead of her time. Even her Will distinguished her as a visionary whose kindness continues to have an impact beyond her years.

Gwen understood the power of science, research and determination to solve our most intractable problems. She included a gift in her Will to MS Plus so that people living with multiple sclerosis can continue to get the support they need to live well while the search for a cure continues.

Read Gwen's story ›
Gwen Gray

Her nephew, Geoff, isn’t quite sure about his aunt’s connection to MS, but he says the kind-hearted gift in her Will comes as no surprise. “Nobody could deny Gwen’s generosity,” he says.

Gwen’s life story is interesting and inspiring.

She was a celebrated mechanical engineer who shattered a string of glass ceilings.

Gwen entered the workforce with the Government Aircraft Factories during World War Two. Later, she took a job with W.E Bassets and started to study mechanical and marine engineering at Footscray Technical College. When she left W.E Bassets four decades later, she was a Company Associate.

During her career, Gwen was involved in construction of several of Melbourne’s most iconic buildings, including the Royal Women’s and Children’s hospitals, and the Arts and Hamer Hall complexes.

Gwen designed courses for RMIT university, where she worked as a lecturer. And in 2006, she was named as one of only 90 Legends of Victoria University.

Gwen leaves a lasting impact not only in her chosen field, but also for people who live with MS.

Geoff is glad that his aunty Gwen’s kind and positive influence will continue. He remembers her fond dedication to family, and many weekends away with her before she passed at 95.

We had an ongoing $2.50 bet as to whether she would make a hundred. I remembered visiting her at the rehab hospital when she suffered pneumonia a couple of years ago. She looked terrible and I asked how she was feeling. She leaned over slowly and said, “Shithouse. I feel about $1.20!”

Gwen’s gift in her Will to MS Plus means she continues to influence the world in a positive way and express her values in perpetuity by driving transformative change even after she’s passed.

Her generosity will help ensure services and support continue to give people with MS the best possible quality of life – which is why we honour her with a special place in our hearts, and membership in the MS Callistemon League.

A gift in your Will costs nothing right now, but will have a profound impact on the future for people who live with MS. Like Gwen, you can leave a legacy of care and lifechanging kindness.

Remembering Vic and Kathy Bilbrough

In 1986, Vic Bilbrough met Kathy Adamson at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Melbourne. The gregarious supervisor was smitten with the quietly spoken research officer, and the feeling was mutual.

“Vic often joked that Kathy stuck by him, even after meeting the Bilbrough clan,” recalled David, his younger brother.

Read Vic and Kathy's story ›
Kathy BilbroughIt was a love that endured beyond 1998—the year that Kathy, only 41, died from complications arising from multiple sclerosis (MS). Vic passed away 22 years later, still mourning his wife.

At Vic’s memorial service, people remembered Vic and Kathy for their many accomplishments.

“Kathy was an all-rounder, excelling at violin, piano and singing, softball and netball. She won many awards at Glen Waverley Secondary College,” recalled sister Lynne Adamson.

Kathy studied arts and German at Monash University and spent a year perfecting her German in Cologne. She became a teacher and taught German in private schools in Melbourne and Hamburg. Later, she briefly worked as a public servant before resuming her teaching career.

Lynne remembers Vic as “clever, witty and talented.”

“I marvelled at his general knowledge and how good he was at cryptic crosswords. He was also wonderful at woodwork. One time, he made the most beautiful wooden guitar,” she said.

Brother David remembers Vic as sporty and musical. “He could sing and play guitar. At 12, he won a local talent competition. He also formed a band with his best friend Steve and brother Stan,” he said.

After finishing high school, Vic clerked in the accounts department at Bunges Flour Mill in Albury. He studied accounting and moved to Melbourne in the mid-1970s to work for the ATO. Later, he moved to Veterans’ Affairs where he met Kathy.

Kathy and Vic married in 1991, bought a house in Forest Hill, planted a large garden and enjoyed going to concerts. But trouble was brewing. While working in Germany and later in Melbourne, Kathy experienced vision problems and became unsteady on her feet. Two years into the marriage, her health declined.

Kathy learned she had an aggressive form of multiple sclerosis.

Uncertain how much time they’d have together, Kathy and Vic spent several months travelling around Europe and the UK. They visited Germany, where Kathy had many friends.

“Vic often reminisced about that trip. It was one of the highlights of their life together,” said David.

Kathy worked until she couldn’t. Later, she and Vic turned to MS Limited (now MS Plus) for support. As her condition worsened, Kathy’s parents assisted with her care, and Vic quit his job to become a full-time carer.

Vic’s family believe he never stopped grieving for Kathy. He endeavoured to find a more positive life path but was hospitalised several times and died in 2020.

Unfortunately, Vic didn’t leave a will, but David, his executor, had an inkling of his last wishes.

“Vic mentioned a few times he and Kathy wanted to leave a generous gift to MS Plus as a thank you for the support staff had given them. He also wanted to help another charity and his siblings. The family liked the idea of supporting the MS cause,” said David.

“By leaving this gift in their names, we hope others will be supported with their MS challenges when they need help,” added David.

Even 1% or 2% of what is left after gifts to family and friends can make a huge difference. It costs nothing now, but changes so many lives into the future.

Today, the families remember Kathy as a bright star in the family firmament and Vic as a man of great wit and generosity. Perhaps elder brother Stan summed up his sibling the best: “A great bloke who gave it all a fair crack.”

 

Could you be like Vic and Kathy and their families and help those with MS? If you want to know more about leaving a gift in your will ring Laura or Rebecca on 1800 443 867, email futureplanning@ms.org.au, or visit www.mymslegacy.org.au.

 

Remembering Margaretha Kuipers

Margaretha became interested in MS Plus when her daughter, Brenda, developed multiple sclerosis at 33. Margaretha felt “useless” about making the diagnosis easier. But she would come over to Brenda’s house to fold laundry and look after her grandchildren to help.

Read Margaretha's story ›

Wartime experiences shaped Margaretha’s generosity

During the Dutch famine of 1944–45, there was no firewood, and people dismantled wooden houses and furniture to provide fuel for heating.

Margaretha Kuipers and her sister Clasina hunted along Amsterdam’s tram lines for wooden blocks to take home to burn.

One day, a German soldier caught the girls and threatened to shoot them. Several women surrounded the girls and yelled at the soldier to leave them alone. To everyone’s relief, he walked away.

This act of courage and kindness was one of many that made Margaretha aware of the need to help others wherever possible. As an adult, she would channel her generosity into helping family and favourite causes.

During the hongerwinter, Margaretha was evacuated to the countryside like many Dutch kids. At a farm north of Amsterdam, Margaretha met a boy, Willem Kuipers, whose parents were hosting her sister. They became friends and later pen pals when Willem went to work in Indonesia after the war.

When he returned, Willem would bike from his village to Amsterdam to see Margaretha. Friendship turned to love, and they got married.

In 1955, the couple immigrated to Melbourne for a better life. Willem worked as a toolmaker, and Margaretha took in sewing as she was a talented seamstress. They bought a plot of land in Noble Park and built a home.

The couple had two girls and adopted two more. The close-knit family now includes four sons-in-law, three grandsons, six granddaughters and three great-granddaughters.

Willem passed away in 1989. Margaretha continued to live in the house they built together until she died in 2019.

“Mum loved her family above all. While she could be direct, she loved laughing and telling jokes. She would have given anything to spend more time with her loved ones,” said daughter Brenda White.

Margaretha was frugal by nature. Her family believes this resulted from her experiences in the Great Depression and World War II. But Margaretha was also generous and fair to all her children.

She was also generous to charities she considered worthwhile.

Margaretha became interested in MS Plus when Brenda developed multiple sclerosis at 33. Brenda suffered relapses that left her exhausted and numb.

Margaretha felt “useless” about making the diagnosis easier. But she would come over to Brenda’s house to fold laundry and look after her grandchildren to help.

The extent of her generosity became apparent when her daughters realised Margaretha had left gifts in her Will to charities close to her heart. These focused on conditions family members had, like diabetes, epilepsy and Brenda’s MS.

“During her lifetime, Mum supported various MS Plus events. In her Will, she decided to support MS Plus further. She wanted to bring about more research to help people with MS, a great legacy,” concluded Brenda.

Your Will says a lot about you and how you can leave your mark on the world. Could you be like Margaretha and help people with multiple sclerosis to lead better lives? Any gift, big or small, can help.

“During her lifetime, Mum supported various MS Plus events. In her Will, she decided to support MS Plus further. She wanted to bring about more research to help people with MS, a great legacy.”

 

– Brenda Kuiper

Remembering Allan and Margaret Collier

David proudly remembers his parents Allan and Margaret’s kindness and thoughtfulness towards others. A particular highlight was when the couple decided to leave a gift in their Will to MS Plus, to thank the MS community for their support.

“They wanted those living with MS to live a life of possibilities,” David explained.

A love that never gives up was indeed this couple’s legacy.

Read Allan and Margaret's story ›
For a Love That Never Gives Up

It was a gut-wrenching day for Allan, Margaret and their family. They just found out that Margaret had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), a progressive disease of the central nervous system that impacts the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. For years Margaret had various symptoms, including loss of balance. As a trained nurse she understood well what this diagnosis meant.

Allan took on the role of primary carer, working around the clock to ensure Margaret was well cared for and could stay home for as long as possible. It was only on her last two years that she had to go to a nursing home.

Together the whole family worked through the challenges of Margaret’s illness. But after 10 years, Margaret finally lost her battle with MS.

Meanwhile, Allan had his own medical issues brewing. He had diabetes and eventually needed to have his leg amputated. But Allan did not let that get him down for long — he quickly resumed driving and other activities once he had his car modified for his medical condition.

Over the years, Allan remained “positive, independent, and active,” according to David, their eldest son. A few days before he passed away, Allan was busy sailing a small yacht on his own in Geelong.

“He was always trying to help others. That day on the boat, he was practising his skills to take part in a program that helps people with disabilities learn to sail. Dad never gave up. He was always thinking about how he could help other people,” recalled David.

Sadly, Allan and Margaret are no longer here. But they will be remembered as loving and inspirational people not only by their family but by many other people in their community. They just kept going, despite the many challenges life threw at them.

David proudly remembers his parents’ kindness and thoughtfulness towards others. A particular highlight was when the couple decided to leave a gift in their Will to MS Plus, to thank the MS community for their support.

“They wanted those living with MS to live a life of possibilities,” David explained.

A love that never gives up was indeed this couple’s legacy.

Your Will says a lot about you and how you can leave your mark on the world. Could you be like Margaret and Allan and help people with multiple sclerosis to lead better lives? Any gift, big or small, can make a difference.

Remembering Judith Ann Carlson

For many years, Judith Ann (Judy) Carlson was “Miss Carlson” to the students at Mitcham High School, a co-ed public school in Melbourne’s leafy eastern suburbs. Even after she passed away, Judy was still giving lessons — only this time in the school of generosity. She had left a gift in her Will to MS Plus because this cause had become personal.

Read Judith's story ›

Schooled in generosity

In 1982, the dedicated teacher learned she had multiple sclerosis (MS). But she continued her teaching and busy social life. Sadly, her career was cut short eight years later when her condition worsened. At 42, she had to retire.

Born in San Francisco in 1948, Judy grew up in Sunnyvale, California, a city in the Santa Clara Valley. Parents Ralph and Eugenia ensured Judy and her siblings Laurie and Glen had a happy childhood.

Life revolved around school, friends and church. Judy attended Emil R. Buchser High School in Santa Clara. At Buchser High, she excelled at her studies, winning a swag of awards. She also played string bass in the school orchestra.

Judy considered a music career, but she opted for a teaching degree in the end. She studied at San Jose University, majoring in English, history and French.

In 1969 Judy took off and travelled around Europe. She particularly enjoyed her travels through France. But when she returned to California to kick start her career, she found very few teaching jobs available.

While she was job hunting, she spotted an ad calling for teachers to come and work in Australia. Keen for another travel adventure, Judy applied and arrived in Australia in 1971. She ended up staying, and in 1996, became an Australian citizen.

At Mitcham High School (now Mullauna College), Judy taught English, history, social studies and drama. She was great friends with headmistress Edna Usher, whom she viewed as a second mother.

Comments on a Facebook page followed by Mitcham High School alumni suggest Judy was an inspirational teacher. One former student wrote: “I think Judy changed many of our lives and set us on our future paths — certainly in my family!”

In 1991, Judy entered a nursing home because she could no longer live on her own. She found her time there challenging because she was only 43, and the institution’s care was tailored to seniors. The lack of specialised accommodation for younger people living with MS is still an issue today in Australia.

Judy’s life improved when she moved to a facility in Keilor, Victoria, that catered for people with MS. In this residence, she made new friends and participated in many of the social programs on offer.

But a few years later, Judy’s care needs became greater. In 2013, she transferred to the Karana Nursing Home, a complex care residence in Yarrawonga. Judy passed away peacefully at Karana two years later. She was 67.

Judy’s many friends appreciated her musical talents, kindness and intelligence. They remember her as a good friend and “the person who spread happiness wherever she went.”

Her obituary in The Herald Sun noted that “she was a gracious lady who never complained.”

Judy hoped that scientists would discover a cure for multiple sclerosis. While she knew that it would not be in her lifetime, she wanted to do her bit towards making this dream a reality for others.

That’s why Judy left a gift in her Will to MS Plus. For Judy, this bequest was not just a donation for a cause but her hope that others wouldn’t have to suffer from multiple sclerosis in the future.

Judy’s charitable gift will always ensure this teacher’s legacy as a class act.

Your Will says a lot about you and how you can leave your mark on the world. Could you be like Judy and help people with multiple sclerosis to lead better lives? Any gift, big or small, can make a difference.

Many of our amazing benefactors know, how difficult it is for someone to traverse the MS journey on their own. It is imperative to have people surrounding you, who understand and support you. People who will extend a caring and loving hand. We can all strive to be “that special person“, who beyond their own lifetime, makes a difference in the lives of others.

We ask that you spend a few minutes thinking about these loving individuals. We honour and recognise their legacy pledge in our “Celebration of Life” book. It is an honour to celebrate our beloved benefactors. It is our tribute as they empower people living with MS, to live their best life.

Join The Callistemon League

Together we can do so much.
Join a community of people who are committed to helping people with multiple sclerosis live their best lives by becoming a member of The Callistemon League by letting us know you have named MS Plus in your Will or trust.