Maria

I am a mother of one, 47 years old and I have been using a wheelchair because of my Multiple Sclerosis for over 10 years.

“I was a ‘Jazzercise’ Instructor when I first got my diagnosis and I had just had my daughter Grace. It was a big blow to find out that I had MS and at the time it felt like a bereavement.

These days I feel like I’m achieving and my husband sees my smiling face on Friday mornings when I’m going to my session. But it has not always been like that. Before I came to Ability Bow things were very different for me.

Over the years I have been trying to get out and stay fit but I had not been able to find anywhere that suits my needs enough for me to keep a regular exercise programme. I have had quite a few relapses and I found it hard to stay positive and upbeat when my life was becoming more and more limited.  I felt very isolated and felt like I had no connection with society. I had a very bleak frame of mind and I was stuck in a rut for a long time. I used to love being active but in those days I ended up thinking ‘why should I try?’

Ability Bow was a godsend. I was referred to Ability Bow Gym by my OT at the Royal London Hospital and since attending regularly I have maintained my physical ability but also things are really looking up for my mental state. I love the interaction you get with other gym members and I feel like I belong to a club where there’s lots of laughter and encouragement. MS is a serious condition but I don’t want to be serious about it and when I’m in the gym I can make light of things, it’s not all doom and gloom.

Working with my Instructor Patrick, I realised that life can get better. I get encouragement that makes me feel like ‘I can’. I can join in again. I have started doing exercises at home and I have even invented my own adapted exercise. I feel excited to be able to do this at home and I feel good about myself. At Ability Bow they give you the best potential and lots of encouragement. I know that people are there for me.

I know that it is as important to look after your mental health as it is your physical health. Recently I have been able to use Ability Bow’s Standing Frame and I feel very good about that. It is a bit of hope.”