A fit, gym-going young adult, in 1998 Karen Wilkinson initially put the tingling in her left leg down to a pinched nerve. After three weeks of tingling, she thought she should probably get it checked out. A series of tests confirmed she was suffering from Relapsing Remitting MS, a shock for her and husband Lee, whose knowledge of MS stretched as far as the readathon and wheelchairs.
Her life continued as normal until a frightening relapse in 2002, causing Mrs Wilkinson to lose sight and hearing to her right side, as well as affecting her left leg. Sadly, she and Mr Wilkinson said goodbye to their beloved house in Macgregor, ACT, that was set on the side of a hill and moved to Bungendore in 2004, “to build a flat house on a flat block,” as Mrs Wilkinson puts it.
2007 saw Mrs Wilkinson shift to a motorised scooter, which gave her the freedom to shop in Queanbeyan with her mother’s help. As the diseased progressed she moved to an electric wheelchair and recently a tilt-in-space chair, which allows her to elevate her legs.
Mrs Wilkinson has now been diagnosed with Secondary Progressive MS, which means continuous progression of the disease. With no hope of recovery, Mrs Wilkinson says that “quality of life and comfort is so important.”
“The support from the MS society is so important to people suffering from this frustrating, debilitating and cruel disease. That is why I would love to raise as much money and awareness as I can”.
Mrs Wilkinson will be raising funds for the MS Walk + Fun Run at the Ryrie Park Markets on Saturday March 25 with her husband and son. Husband Lee Wilkinson is a familiar face in Braidwood, frequently working in town with a carpet cleaning business.
She will be selling baked treats, MS merchandise, teatowels, Jamberry nails, candles and soaps, with all profits to MS. Mrs Wilkinson’s profile for the MS Walk + Fun Run can be found here.