Get cooking for the MS Cake Break!

Caitriona Cunningham,  support volunteer, Terry McNamee, development officer Foyle Branch, MS Society and Catherine Doran, member of Foyle Branch pictured at the launch of the Multiple Sclerosis Cake Bake. (1004SL22) Photo: Stephen Latimer
Caitriona Cunningham, support volunteer, Terry McNamee, development officer Foyle Branch, MS Society and Catherine Doran, member of Foyle Branch pictured at the launch of the Multiple Sclerosis Cake Bake. (1004SL22) Photo: Stephen Latimer

In my eyes there’s nothing better than a slice of homemade cake and a cup of tea to help lift your spirits. And despite being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis four years ago, baking is still a hobby I indulge in when I can.

In fact, it’s often the case that if I’ve had a relapse, the first thing I do when I start feeling better, is make a batch of cupcakes with my two year old daughter Charlotte. It’s almost my way of saying, ‘I’m back!’

So, the MS Society’s fundraising campaign - Cake Break - is right up my street.

It takes place every year during MS Week, which this year will be held from Monday 29th April-Sunday 5th May.

The idea is a simple one. You simply sign up to host an event, which can be as small or as large as you want, bake some cakes and ask those who turn up to eat them to provide a donation.

Usually I bring a few home bakes into the ‘Journal’, the team wolf them down with their morning cup of tea or coffee and there’s £100 for the charity raised in no time.

My colleagues are extremely supportive of my endeavours, as well as keeping a good eye on me when the illness strikes. As it stands, I can have anything between one and four relapses a year, but this can fluctuate at any time. Relapses are times when MS makes itself felt, and over the four years which I have been diagnosed (and many months prior) they have resulted in various symptoms.

There have been times when severe fatigue means getting out of bed is an impossibility, and instances where I have needed to use a stick to walk as my legs simply give way beneath me with no prior warning.

Last year I was also unfortunate enough to be at the mercy of constant muscle spasms, intermittent pins and needles, areas of numbness and severe pain.

Thankfully, I have been feeling well in recent months, and am currently expecting my second baby with my husband Joe.

Due in June, we are both extremely excited about welcoming another addition to our family, and providing a brother or sister for our first daughter Charlotte.

But the reality is that MS is a young person’s illness. Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 25 and 40, and as such, it can be an extremely frightening diagnosis.

In the months following my diagnosis there was a sense that my life was over before it had begun.

But I have been determined to live as full a life as possible and when I am well, I make the most of it.

When I am sick I am lucky to have an incredible support network around me and if anything, MS has shown me that when the going gets tough, those who care about you are quick to help out.

And the MS Society has become part of that support network.

The charity does brilliant work locally and nationally, with monies raised going towards a whole range of services, as well as research into a possible cure.

So, if you think you would like to bake some buns, craft a cake or prove some bread, and raise funds for an incredible charity while doing so, then please consider hosting a Cake Break at your home, work place or community centre.

Personally, I will be very grateful for every penny that is raised and I can wholeheartedly vouch for the wonderful work they do.

For more information you can go online to www.cakebreak.org,uk or telephone 0845 481 1577.

You can also email: cakebreak@mssociety.org.uk or find information via the Facebook page, www.facebook.com/mssociety/events

Locally you can contact Terry McNamee at MS Society Foyle Branch on tel, (028) 7136 0831.