It was only eight months ago that Shirley Reise was paralysed from the chest down and was going blind after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). However, in what has been an incredible recovery she has now regained her sight, the use of her legs and is gearing up to take part in the Edinburgh Marathon Festival 5K on 26 May.
Shirley will be running to raise much-needed funds for the MS Society.
Her participation in the race is possible after she was put on a highly effective dose of medication, which has completely turned her life around in the space of just a few months.
Not only will she have the support of her Fife Council work colleagues at the Supported Employment Service in Kirkcaldy and her son Joseph (6) on the day, but Shirley will also have some encouragement from her son’s Shetland pony Winnie, who was instrumental in her recovery.
Shirley, who is originally from Kirkcaldy, said: “In May 2017 I was diagnosed with aggressive and explosive Multiple Sclerosis.
“I went from mucking out stables, riding and working full time as well as looking after my son Joseph, to being paralysed from the chest down and eventually blind. I spent the summer in hospital going through several MRI’s and lumbar punctures to try and assess what exactly the disease was doing.
“My brain and spinal cord were covered in lesions, which are the result of an overactive immune system attacking the brain and protective myelin sheath on the spinal cord.
“The entire experience was highly traumatic for both myself and my son. At times I was only able to cuddle him or touch his face to know he was there. Since then, I have started a highly effective monthly drip at the Queen Margaret Hospital in Dunfermline and this medication (known as Tysabri) has turned my quality of life around – returning me almost entirely back to normal. I can now run, ride and I am hoping to try my hand at para dressage.
“I decided to run the 5k at Edinburgh Marathon Festival for the MS Society because getting my vision back and being able to walk again has totally changed my outlook. I wanted to do something to not only raise money for the MS Society for MS research but also to raise awareness as many people don’t know what MS is – I know I didn’t know what it was when I was diagnosed.”
The Edinburgh Marathon Festival 5K takes place 26 May, entries are available through their website.