Go For Gold 

 Stories 

Go For Gold Stories

Steven's Story

Steven was diagnosed with MS in 1996, after he began experiencing fatigue, numbness, loss of fine motor skills, and difficultly walking.

Within a year, Steven’s health had deteriorated so badly he was forced to give up work.

But he didn’t give up on life.

Steven’s dream was to participate in road cycling with his son. In 2009, he surprised himself by completing our MS Melbourne Summer Cycle event.

The following year, Steven decided to apply for one of our Go for Gold Scholarships, which are funded by money raised by you in the MS Mega Swim, Badminton, Squash & Racquetball events.

Thanks to kind people like you, Steven won a scholarship – and it changed his life.

“The quality of my life has improved out of sight”

Steven used his scholarship to buy a new bike and cycling equipment. Now he rides 250kms a week, which has had a huge impact on his MS. As he told us:

“My legs are strong, which has meant that I can stand and walk well, although a bit slow.”

And when we asked him if he had a message for you, he said simply:

“The gift you give by participating and fundraising in the MS Mega Swim, Badminton, Squash & Racquetball events will change someone’s life.”

Kate's Story

“You are giving people with MS a very special gift” – Kate

When you take part in a MS Mega Swim, Badminton, Squash & Racquetball event you’ll be participating to help people with MS live the lives they want. People like Kate.

Kate was just 25 when she started experiencing her first MS symptoms. She’s been in and out of hospital, and battles chronic fatigue, pain and numbness every day. But she’s determined not to let MS hold her back.

And in 2017 – thanks to wonderful people like you – Kate was awarded one of our ‘Go for Gold’ Scholarships to become a certified Yoga Teacher.

These scholarships are funded by money raised from our MS Mega Swim, Badminton and Squash & Racquetball events. As Kate told me:

“The scholarship will change my life. When I accepted it, I was overcome with emotion looking out at the people who’d participated in the MS Mega Swim, Badminton and Squash & Racquetball events to help make my dream come true.”

Graham's Story

The sun shines when you least expect it - but it does shine.

When I was diagnosed with MS 30 years ago, it was like being hit by a black cloud. Since then, I’ve been enjoying time with family and friends, eating well, and keeping fit. Unfortunately, walking has become more difficult in the last few years and I now rely heavily on a walking stick to help me get around when out of my home.

In 2019, I was a lucky recipient of a MS Go for Gold grant and purchased an electric tricycle with the funds. It has seriously changed my life in such a positive way. This electric tricycle has given me the ability to get out and about on all of the cycleways in my area - like I used to be able to only a few years ago. I feel like a bird with wings again when cruising about on my new wheels. Even my beautiful dog gets to come out for a walk and I’m sure you know how much dogs like going for walks.

I want to sincerely thank all the people who contributed their time and effort to earn the funds to allow this to happen and MSL for considering me worthy of the grant. If I’ve missed anyone, I sincerely thank you too.

Thank you for this beautiful gift and for changing my life.

Jennifer's Story

In 2014 Jennifer Severn was awarded a Go for Gold Scholarship to engage a life-writing mentor. She'd been writing snippets of her life story for years and wanted to turn them into a book.

'The Go for Gold Scholarship was a game-changer,' she says. 'I'd been writing all my life and I'd earned a living for a while doing technical and commercial writing—good, plain, practical writing.' She laughs. 'But you can't write a memoir like that. A memoir is creative non-fiction. It has to come to life.

'My mentor, Rae Luckie, introduced me to using all the senses to create a sense of place. I was amazed at the difference this made to some scenes and events in the narrative—just adding, for instance, the aroma of spices in the kitchen of a share house, or the sound of peacocks in an ashram garden.

'She also introduced me to some great techniques for unlocking memories. And that was the time that I started taking my manuscript seriously.

In 2018 that manuscript was shortlisted for the Finch Prize for Memoir, and this year Jennifer launched Long Road to Dry River.

Family dysfunction, inappropriate relationships, life as an 'Orange Person' … Jen's life was a search for belonging, until circumstances conspired to land her in an unrenovated 1840s shearer's cottage in Quaama, a tiny village on Dry River on the far south coast of NSW, in 1997—the same year she was diagnosed with MS.

'I don't need to tell others with MS that it colours all aspects of our lives and rules all our major life decisions,' says Jen. 'So my MS may have been one of the main sources of stress in my life, but it was also one of the factors that brought me to Quaama, a rural community that provided the sustenance I needed—somewhere I belonged.'

Jen was due to launch the book in January this year, but the New Year's Eve bushfires destroyed homes and businesses both in Quaama and in the nearby town of Cobargo, where the launch was planned at Well Thumbed Books.

'I remember evacuating at 2am that day and taking one last look at those boxes of Long Road to Dry River in my office,' she says. 'But our house was saved, and so was the bookshop.'

If ‘Well Thumbed Books’ in Cobargo rings a bell, it might be because it briefly had the world's attention in January when a notice was placed in its window—'Post-Apocalyptic Fiction has been moved to Current Affairs.'

'So we rescheduled the launch for early March. Just one week later and I would've had to cancel it due to COVID-19. There was definitely no social distancing at the bookshop that day—it was packed!

'I'm incredibly grateful for the Go for Gold Scholarship. I wouldn't have thought to consult a mentor without it, but it made a material difference to the book—and to my writing in general,' says Jen.