Spotlight on the Mansfield and District MS Support Group

Posted by: Laura Hammond

Tue 31st May 2022

This week began with World MS Day – a global event designed to raise awareness and campaign with those affected by multiple sclerosis (MS).

Multiple sclerosis affects the brain and spinal cord. The MS Society explains: “A substance called myelin protects the nerve fibres in the central nervous system, which helps messages travel quickly and smoothly between the brain and the rest of the body.

“In MS, your immune system, which normally helps to fight off infections, mistakes myelin for a foreign body and attacks it. This damages the myelin and strips it off the nerve fibres, either slightly or completely, leaving scars known as lesions or plaques.

“This damage disrupts messages travelling along nerve fibres – they can slow down, become distorted, or not get through at all.”

Organised by the MS International Federation and its members, World MS Day takes place on May 30 every year.

The theme of the event is connections – so we’ve taken a look at how people with MS who live in the Alfreton area, as well as their friends and family, can access support locally.

The MS Society has a network of groups located across the country to offer support and friendship to the more than 130,000 people in the UK living with MS.

At present, the closest support group to Alfreton is the Mansfield and District MS Support Group.

The group offers a range of support and advice, raises awareness of MS at events and also hosts social evenings for members.

Anyone with MS is invited to join the group, which currently logs 111 members, regardless of where they live – and it’s free to do so.

Ash Sykes became involved with the support group shortly after he was diagnosed with MS in 2012.

Now he is group co-ordinator and says the support of others has been invaluable.

He said: “It’s shown me that it [having MS] is not the end of the world. You can live quite normally with it. There are downsides and it varies for everyone.

“Whatever story you hear, it’s different, which was very helpful for me. It helps to talk to somebody who understands, that’s one of the main bonuses of it.”

The Mansfield and District MS Support Group hosts a social evening on the second Tuesday of every month.

The social evenings take place at the William lV pub, in Stockwell Gate, Mansfield, between 7pm and 9pm.

If you would like to contact the group to find out more, you can email or you can get in touch via its Facebook page – Mansfield MS Group.