NEARLY 30 years ago Anita Gamba was told by doctors to prepare for a life in a wheelchair.
The Darlington resident, who was an accountant and a quantum physics teacher, had put her deteriorating health down to her recent pregnancy.
Then within the space of a year she started experiencing paralysis in her arms and lower body, was declared legally blind, her speech was slurred, and she’d lost some of her cognitive skills.
“In December 1989, I collapsed and spent three days in Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital,” she said.
“An MRI revealed I had multiple sclerosis (MS), but the prognosis wasn’t good; one doctor told me all they could do was prepare me for life in a wheelchair.
“Virtually nothing was known about the neurological condition.”
Ms Gamba said she was in shock for a long time after the diagnosis, but this all changed when she was introduced to MSWA, which specialises in supporting people living with more than 30 neurological conditions including Parkinson’s Disease and Motor Neurone Disease.
“I’m accessing occupational therapy, physiotherapy and aqua therapy services which allows me to be independent and in control,” she said.
“It’s an amazing feeling to know they are supporting me in every step I take.
“I overlay their advice and their expertise on top of positive thinking and meditation, something I can now share with the community.”
Over the years, Ms Gamba’s MS has challenged her many times and recently she lost her ability to walk.
As part of her NDIS plan, MSWA arranged for regular physiotherapy at Wilson Outreach facility, which is helping reach her goal of walking again.
“It’s the extra mile MSWA goes that keeps my journey positive,” she said.
May 30 is World MS Day, which brings the global MS community together to share stories, raise awareness and campaign for everyone affected by MS.
This year’s theme is ‘Bringing us Closer’ which encourages people to share their journey and celebrate research trying to find a cause and cure.
Over the past decade, MSWA has invested $10.9 million towards fighting the disease including $2.6 million this year alone, more than twice the amount of all other state organisations combined.
Ms Gamba urged the community to get behind World MS Day.
“MSWA has some exciting opportunities for you to get involved in World MS Day this year, including a sunset yoga class, MSWA Sensory Hub and the annual Street Appeal in the City,” she said.
“The day will include MSWA Members, ambassadors, volunteers, families and friends all there to help raise vital funds and awareness for people living with MS.”