Toni Krok, a North London mum (from Golders Green) diagnosed with MS ten years ago, is set to climb Mount Etna – an active volcano – from 5th-9th October.
The trip is to launch her new charity, MS Positive, which she is establishing with the support of friends Janine Oppenheim and Pam Pines, who, together with a group of 25 well-wishers, supporters and medics, will be walking with her.
Covering more than 50km over three days and ascending around 2000 metres, the group hopes to raise over £30,000 to provide practical and emotional peer-to-peer support to those with MS and their families.
“When I heard the words Multiple Sclerosis I immediately thought I was going to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair.
“Over time, I came to understand that MS affects everyone differently. Like everybody else, I have good days and bad days. I have learned how to look after myself and responded with positive thinking, exercise and healthy eating.
“As I talked to others with MS, however, I realized that many were less well supported than I was and found it harder to be positive about living with the MS.
“Initially, I responded by fundraising for the MS Society. It’s an amazing charity, but still I felt something was missing. I wanted to provide the personal, bespoke emotional and practical support that, with the best will in the world, is always a challenge for an organisation on the scale of the MS Society.
“So I am launching MS Positive to complement existing organisations and networks. We will be the MS charity with the can-do attitude and what better way to show that than to climb an active volcano?” Toni concludes.
MS Positive – which will focus on supporting individuals and families in North London – aims to be fully functioning by January 2018. By then, it will be seeking to offer a phone-line staffed by and for people with MS, a regular programme of exercise classes, and emotional and practical support for individuals and their families through a range of forums.
MS Positive will hold its first class on Sunday 19th November, to coincide with Mitzvah Day, the Jewish Day of social action. Classes will be free and open to anyone with MS (and family members).