Updated: Apr 21, 2021
I really can't express the difference being able to go on the Lady of Avenel has made to me. It was one of the most enriching experiences I've ever had - I'm still thinking about it daily. Since coming home I cook recipes from our time on board - soups mainly, to keep alive those experiences. I felt my confidence grow throughout the week, and found myself being more brave than I was previously - giving things a go which I might have been reluctant to previously because of my MS. I feel empowered by my experience and have more of a can-do attitude rather than avoiding physical challenge like I used to.
The Lady of Avenel came at a very difficult time for me - I had recently lost my sister, and my mother in law was seriously ill. I really did feel the stresses and strains of months leave me whilst on board - sailing really does remove you from the world and gives you a sense of complete freedom. Throughout the week, I felt my symptoms reduce - I tend to have sensory symptoms in my right leg which can cause weakness. I felt myself becoming stronger in my legs throughout the week - I live in a bungalow, so steps are not something I encounter regularly, but needing to go up and down steps to go below deck gave me a purpose to use stairs. I really did feel a strength I'd not felt for possibly ten years.
Mixing with other people who have MS was also invaluable - I've made friendships which will continue for many years, with people I would not have encountered in every day life.
As I said it is one of the most enriching experiences I've ever had - I love sailing and hope it will continue to be an activity I'll be able to enjoy for many years to come. I really am so grateful to Hillary's Dream Trust.