Thursday, 24 June 2021

Henley Rotary Club

SUPPORT and assistance for multiple sclerosis sufferers in Henley was described to members at their

SUPPORT and assistance for multiple sclerosis sufferers in Henley was described to members at their weekly meeting held at the Red Lion Hotel on Tuesday.

Samantha Harper, fund-raising manager for the Berkshire multiple sclerosis therapy centre, off Oxford Road in Reading, explained how in 2010 the charity had entered into a premises partnership with Headway Thames Valley over its base at Brunner Hall in Greys Road, Henley, to form the Henley MS Support Group.

The service offers a weekly visit by trained therapists to Brunner Hall, where local sufferers receive advice and assistance in managing their condition. There are about 60 people with MS in Henley and the average attendance at the Thursday sessions is about 15.

Ms Harper said that MS was the biggest cause of disablement among young people but that her service covered all age groups.

The aim was to spread awareness about the neurological disease, which causes pain, fatigue, eye problems and slurred speech.

She emphasised that there were many differing manifestations which sometimes made it difficult to diagnose. The three main methods of diagnosis were vision, an MRI scan and a lumbar puncture.

Interestingly, women are three times more likely to contract the disease than men.

The Berkshire centre is an independent charity which works in liaison with the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Its main aims are to: provide a range of therapy treatments, guidance and support; encourage self-help; enable improved symptom management; and to promote an enhanced quality of life for people with MS, their families and carers.

In view of the arrangements with Headway, the Henley centre costs just £8,000 a year to run but the charity relies heavily on donations to carry out its work.

Proposing the vote of thanks, David Rusman said he and other Rotarians had learnt a lot.

Earlier, members had basked in the reflected glory of Reading Blue Coat School’s intermediate public speaking team which had won the national final of Rotary’s Youth Speaks competition in Preston at the weekend.

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