RACHEL'S STORY: Rachel Kerr at the MS Swimathon Rockhampton CQ University Community Sports Centre. Photo Sharyn O'Neill / The Morning Bulletin
RACHEL'S STORY: Rachel Kerr at the MS Swimathon Rockhampton CQ University Community Sports Centre. Photo Sharyn O'Neill / The Morning Bulletin Sharyn O'Neill ROK100514sms2

Why the MS Swimathon is so important for Rocky woman

RACHEL Kerr had just turned 17 when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

It all started in 2006, during her final year of high school, when the Rockhampton woman lost her sight.

Rachel was scared and shocked.

She went through a lot of tests before the Royal Flying Doctor Service flew her to Brisbane, where doctors were fairly confident they were dealing with multiple sclerosis.

She eventually regained her sight, but it has been a long road for Rachel, who said there weren't as many treatment options when she was diagnosed.

Rachel said she has different symptoms all the time, which include fatigue, numbness and vertigo.

She said health professionals' best guess as to the cause is the brain is working so much harder to send messages to the rest of the body.

Over a decade has passed, but Rachel still hasn't been able to put the feeling of being diagnosed into words.

Rachel works full time, while raising her children and having good and bad days living with multiple sclerosis.

She has been involved in the last five MS Swimathons in Rockhampton, this year being no exception.

The event requires relay teams to swim together for 12 hours, in an effort to raise funds for those who are living with multiple sclerosis.

Rachel said the fun event will include music and entertainment.

It is one of ten events held across the state and together, the aim is to raise over $240,000 so important services can continue to be provided by MS Queensland.

Rockhampton teams will be striving towards raising $20,000.

Over the past five Swimathon events in the beef capital, over $95,000 has been raised so those living with the condition do not face it alone.

Swimming is popularly used as a low-impact mobility therapy option.

The annual Swimathon events enable those living with multiple sclerosis to connect with one another.

Multiple sclerosis is "the most common chronic neurological condition” affecting young Australians.

With an average age of diagnosis of 30 years, the condition affects about three times more women than men.

More than 23,000 Australians are living with multiple sclerosis, with over 3,700 living in Queensland.

Neither a cause nor a cure has yet been found.

ROCKY MS SWIMATHON

  • WHEN: Saturday, March 17 6am to 6pm
  • WHERE: CQUniversity Community Sports Centre
  • REGISTER: msswimathon.com.au


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