What have you done to raise funds for Mast Cell Action?
My lovely six year old daughter Eve and I walked 5k in loops around our local park.
How is the challenge going so far?
We took part in the challenge on Saturday 23 September. The weather was kind to us! It was a lovely, dry and sunny day and very pleasant to be in the park. We managed to complete the challenge in just under two hours. We had a few rest stops here and there and plenty of fun along the way. Friends and family came out in support too which was amazing. Some of them ran the route and others walked with us. We celebrated completion of the walk with a well deserved ice cream!
What is your link to Mast Cell Activation Syndrome? Can you share a brief history of your story with us?
I was diagnosed with MCAS in May last year. This followed a period of ill health which had started at the end of 2019. Prior to this I had been fit and well. I suffered a viral illness which prompted an array of unexplained symptoms which meant I ultimately had to give up work. My state steadily worsened and at my lowest points I've been pretty much housebound. After a particularly bad flare up of symptoms later that year, I started reacting terribly to foods, fragrances and changes in temperature. I started putting the pieces of the puzzle together myself and after much research came to the conclusion of histamine intolerance and possibly MCAS. I finally received my diagnosis after consulting with a private practitioner and began the slow introduction of medications. After around six months of initiating treatment I started to see glimmers of improvement and this year I've had the best year health wise since the start of my illness. I'm far from symptom free but I've found profound relief from certain symptoms, my energy levels are much improved and my diet has become less restrictive. I've managed to gain weight and am generally able to partcipate in family life more. Having been unable to even get my daughter to school and back for years to be at the point of walking 5k feels like a huge victory. I'm even starting to look for some part time work!
Why did you choose Mast Cell Action? What impact has Mast Cell Action had for you?
I decided to fundraise for Mast Cell Action as their work is vital for the MCAS community. I'm well aware I've been one of the lucky ones in receiving a diagnosis and having access to private healthcare. Not everyone is this lucky and it's vital that these treatments become available on the NHS. The support that Mast Cell Action provides to individuals is crucial and their work to increase awareness and understanding of the condition, particularly amongst health care professionals, is so needed.
What would you say to other people considering doing a fundraiser for Mast Cell Action?
If anyone is considering fundraising for Mast Cell Action I would say please, just do it! The team are so supportive in terms of planning your event and the JustGiving site takes all of the hassle out of raising funds. It really is just a case of a few clicks and your page is live. It makes it so straighforward for people to donate too.
What message would you like to share with the MCAS community?
To the MCAS community I would just like to say hang in there and please keep fighting. I know how utterly debilitating and defeating the illness can be and it can seem at times that there is no light at the end of the tunnel. To those who have yet to achieve a diagnosis or find effective treatments, please don't give up. As a community I dearly hope we can acheive swift and accurate diagnosis times and access to affordable treatments for all.
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Mast Cell Action relies entirely on the generosity of people like you. Please make a donation now and together we can make a difference to those affected by MCAS.