This week it’s Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Awareness Week, and with an estimated 100,000 people estimated to be living with MS in the UK alone, it’s understandable that many will need support from family and friends at some point in their lives. Many carers provide support and companionship to their loved ones out of devotion and often don’t identify themselves as carers, simply as partners, husbands and wives – just like Revitalise guest Barry and his wife Sally, who recently shared their story with us.
It is estimated that around 5,000 people are newly diagnosed with the condition each year, that’s 100 people each week. In the last year, Revitalise provided a total of 434 breaks for people living with MS – some of which were thanks to the help of the MS Society – enabling them to take time away from their everyday routines and to spend quality time with their loved ones.
Our words could never convey the importance of taking a break like those of our guests. Here, Revitalise guest Barry and his wife Sally tell us what a break means to them in their own words. When asked about their journey with MS and their marriage, here’s what they said.
“Barry and I met in the year 2000, when the MS Society used to run holiday homes. I was 45 and Barry 49. Barry was 38 when he was diagnosed with progressive MS. We went on a cruise last year together to the Norwegian Fjords. It was nice but it wasn’t much of an opportunity for me to enjoy a break really as I still had to care for Barry.”
When asked if she and Barry would get an opportunity to take a break elsewhere if they didn’t take a holiday with Revitalise, Sally shared:
“No. The nice thing about coming to Revitalise is that Barry gets a break and I get a break too. Alternative respite options don’t give Barry the chance to get out and about and see new places like he does at Revitalise, just because it is respite doesn’t mean it can’t be fun too.”
When I asked what the most important reasons were for them both to take a break Sally continued:
“When Barry comes away to Revitalise I know that he is safe and looked after and that gives me peace of mind to enjoy a break too. Barry can socialise and meet new people and I know that everyone at Revitalise is kind and caring. Barry loves to socialise and meet new friends as at home it is just the two of us and sometimes it can be difficult to get out, as we are both getting older now and things get harder.
While Barry is on holiday with Revitalise I can visit friends and family, as it can be difficult to go away together. It is nice to have something to look forward too, without it I think we would probably breakdown.
All I can say is that a Revitalise holiday is an absolute lifeline, for me and for Barry. It rejuvenates our lives. It’s not a rehearsal this life, you’ve got to make the most of it!”
We support hundreds of guests like Barry and his wife Sally to enjoy respite breaks with us each year. There are an estimated 6.5 million unpaid carers in the UK, providing care worth £132bn, almost equivalent to the UK’s total healthcare spend. In 2016, 85% of people with MS who needed care and support received unpaid care and support from a friend or family member. Your support means that we can ensure our doors are always open for our guests when they need us the most. If you would like to support our work you are welcome to do so below. Thank you.