MEET CATHERINE AYOB
09 APRIL 2021
Catherine was awarded an MS Go for Gold Scholarship to help her achieve a dream – to dedicate her career to finding a cure for multiple sclerosis.
And, it’s fundraisers like you who have made this possible.
Catherine graduates this year with a Bachelor of Biomedical Science (with great grades!) and she's already planning the next step to get her closer to her dream.
Catherine says, “In Australia, we spend $1 billion on MS and autoimmune diseases. I want to be part of that, to help myself and help others. When I work in research, I will find a cure.”
The MS Go for Gold Scholarship will help Catherine cover the costs of her Science Graduate Diploma, majoring in Immunology at the University of New South Wales.
For Catherine, the road to diagnosis and her optimistic outlook was difficult.
“Multiple sclerosis is not a common disease in Egypt. After the birth of my second child, I found I couldn’t walk and had frequent urination. I went to the doctor and I was told the frequency of urination was due to having two children.”
Catherine also experienced ongoing weakness, fatigue, back pain and depression.
“During this time, I didn’t have the strength to say I also felt depressed. I didn’t feel myself at all. I didn’t leave the house. I wanted to stay alone. It wasn’t post-natal depression, but it was due to multiple sclerosis.”
When Catherine was finally diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, her symptoms continued.
“The first attack affected my right leg, and a few months later the second attack my left leg. Now, my mobility is unstable. I can walk for around 5 minutes. But I adapt: I walk short distances and then have frequent rests. There’s fear too… When I’m 40, maybe I will be blind or maybe I will be in a wheelchair.”
“Finally, I thought I need something to move forward with, that doesn’t require physical strength. So, I decided to change my area of study.”
Catherine’s career started out as a veterinary doctor, but now she dreams of finding a cure for MS.
“To research a cure for MS gives me hope for my life. If you decide that you can do something, you can.”
While Catherine experiences ongoing difficulty with mobility, balance, short-term memory and concentration, she forges forward with optimism.
“I study more than anyone! I make a lot of notes. Sometimes you think you aren’t a normal person, sometimes you feel stupid, but over time I keep going. I want the best for my kids. I know I suffer from MS, but I can do what anyone else can do. That’s why I was doing full time studying while raising my two kids with my husband.”
“I want to tell the fundraisers thank you for thinking about people with MS. You are helping me and other people. Thank you so much.”