Real lives: volunteering helped me connect with others with MS

Ms society volunteer craig herbert

Craig Herbert, 44, is a dad-of-four who lives with MS and volunteers for the MS Society to help others learn how to live well with the condition

30th August 2017 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

I wanted to volunteer with the MS society because I felt my diagnosis was an opportunity to help other people facing similar situations that I face. I saw my own diagnosis as a second chance to really help make a difference to others.

It was a chance to give something back – I see my diagnosis as an opportunity. It was a second chance to live a better life and do things to help others.

Craig Herbert

Craig Herbert

I also do puppy walking for Guide Dogs as well. We take a puppy in for a year and get it ready for its duties.

I have been volunteering with the MS Society for nine years as a self-management facilitor for its Living Well with MS courses.

My MS stopped me working but I didn’t want my life to be wasting away, I wanted to go out and enjoy things.

I would definitely encourage other people living with MS to become course facilitators. During my time volunteering with the MS Society I've had many opportunities to meet like-minded souls who I now call good friends. It gave me the chance to be part of a community of shared experience which I didn't have before volunteering.

My favourite part is seeing the difference these courses make to people's lives and seeing them able to pass on their own expertise in dealing with their own condition. It's like a lightbulb moment for many.

"It gave me the chance to be part of a community....

My wife works full time, she is a deacon with the Church of Scotland, and she is out funny hours. I take the kids out to their clubs, I operate the dad taxi, I do the volunteering and I have MS. I am proof that anybody can volunteer. It’s hard work but if you want to make a difference, you can.

There is no cure for MS. There are lots of treatment options, and you might be able to hold back the progression to a certain extent. But you can take steps to handle your condition and to take ownership of it.

Your life might not go the same pace as you had hoped, or it may not take the path you had planned, but you can still go down so many different routes.

I think there is lots of research going on for long-term treatment options, but I don’t think my generation will see any cure. It is important that we do things that can help people to live their lives, and these courses can help in so many ways.

MS Society Scotland is looking for volunteers to help deliver courses to others living with the neurological condition in Lanarkshire, Glasgow and Inverclyde.