Essex woman’s charity gig to thank the MS Society

TEN years after suffering a major health scare, one woman is helping others in the same situation as herself while raising money for life-changing research.

The life of Fiona Symonds was turned on its head in just three weeks a decade ago after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).

She recalled waking up one morning and being unable to use her leg. She went to her GP where she was diagnosed with nerve damage.

The symptoms persisted and it wasn’t until she was sent to hospital that she was given the bad news.

“It was lucky for me that it was a major attack because I was diagnosed very quickly, but it has had a massive impact on my life,” she said.

“I had to give up my job and my home in Braintree. Luckily, the council found me a home in Dunmow and I have a lot of friends here who have stood by me, for which I am eternally grateful.”

Although her illness dramatically affects her life – she can’t go outdoors for long periods because ofo crippling fatigue – Miss Symonds still manages to volunteer for the Citizens Advice Bureau and she is a committee member of the Braintree, Witham & Halstead branch of the Multiple Sclerosis Society (MSS).

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“I really enjoy working for the CAB because I get to give something back. I also value my work for the MSS because I get to meet other people with MS and give them a positive attitude towards it,” she said.

And now to say thank you to the MSS, which has helped her cope with the illness, she is holding a charity gig to raise money for others in the area suffering from MS.

“The MSS provides support by buying equipment to make life easier for people with MS. They bought me a scooter so I can walk my son, Daniel, to school.

“More and more people are being diagnosed every year, so the research the society does is vital.”

On July 7 Alan’s Leg, a cover band which does songs from Led Zeppelin, Kings of Leon, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles and Black Crows, will be supported by Helena Romanes School Battle of the Band winners The Masquerade for the gig at Foakes Hall.

Tickets, at �5, can be purchased in advance from Miss Symonds on 01371 875181. Take your own drinks.