MSA Trust

Round Ireland with an MSA Nurse Specialist

Our CEO, Karen Walker, reflects on her road and rail trip through Ireland in November 2017, supporting our MSA Nurse Specialists who was on her third trip of the year to the country.. 

The MSA Trust provides services and support across the UK and Ireland and we know how much it means for people to see us out and about in their region. So it was my great pleasure to travel round Ireland in early November with our MSA Nurse Specialist, Katie Rigg, and see first-hand the work she does supporting people with MSA, their families and the healthcare professionals who care for them.

Our journey started in Belfast on a wet Tuesday morning where Katie had already done a day’s work previously at a clinic at the City Hospital. So it seemed only fair I should do the driving, Katie having already been in harness.

We headed north out of Belfast through dreadful rush hour traffic. Having grown up in Belfast, I was able to take Katie via the back streets to the motorway.  Ok, I hadn’t allowed for all the changes to one-ways, no entries and new roads. I ended up as lost as Katie, but don’t worry I disguised it well.

After a stop at Altnagelvin Hospital, Londonderry, it was a drive south to Plumbridge, on to Omagh, where friends provided sustenance on route to Dublin. Quite a trip down memory lane driving towards Dublin, through old haunts around Monaghan. I bored Katie rigid with my tales of childhood holidays all the way to Dublin.

We then had a whirlwind round of three support groups, teaching sessions (Katie) and clinics (Katie again). Highlights of the tour –

  • A phone call to a support group member in Limerick to hear that she was a granny again (a few tears shed and a MSA Bertie Bear dispatched to baby)
  • Katie delivering a teaching session recorded for a podcast on neurological conditions for students at masters’ level
  • The sharing of information and mutual support at every meeting
  • Relaxing on a train to Limerick watching the forty shades of green whizz by
  • The buns especially prepared by Marion for the Dublin support group (delicious)
  • The drive into Sligo, along the banks of the Garavogue river and through the gravel hills that hide Sligo from view for a long time.

It was, as always with one of our Nurse Specialists, a trip full of meeting interesting people, sharing difficult issues and seeking solutions together- but above all a demonstration of how the Trust aims to reach out to everyone affected by MSA, wherever they live.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the blogs published on these pages are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the MSA Trust.

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