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I applied for the Dorothy L Newman Scholarship so I could have the opportunity to finish my Diploma without adding to my student loan. I had never heard about the Scholarship before my Field Officer, Gay Dickie, talked to me about it and helped me submit my application. I am on the last paper for the Information and Library Studies Level 5 Diploma with The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand and will finish mid-October.
I am looking at moving to Hamilton in the next six months and hope to get a job in a library, but I am finding it hard as most library jobs already want you to have the Diploma that I am currently studying. I had to pull out of two papers last year due to problems with my health, but the Scholarship is giving me the push I need to finish my Diploma. I am hoping to continue on with my studies next year, as this Diploma crosses over into the Bachelor’s Degree of Information and Library Studies.
I used to be a nurse educator. However, due to the progression of my MS I was out of work for almost six years. I was considering retraining in Psychology, and the MS Society offered me support under the Dorothy L Newman Scholarship to do this. The MS Society successfully advocated for funding for two new drugs, and I was able to commence on one of them—Gilenya® (Fingolimod)—in January 2015, and my health improved immensely. I was able to walk for long periods and remain on my feet without the use of a crutch for the first time in eight years. In fact, I improved so much that the Nursing Council supported me in returning to nursing, and I am back at work two days a week. I know my treatment is not a cure, but now I am able to provide for my family and have a sense of purpose.
These treatments have changed my world.
In 2015, I was fortunate to be awarded $2000 from MSNZ, through the Dorothy L Newman Scholarship.
It was a long-held (20 year) dream to be able to study naturopathy and I felt I was in a good position with my health. I am currently in my first year of three, studying naturopathy at the Naturopathic College of New Zealand.
I have really stepped outside my boundaries this year, as I have needed to remain focused on my studies and to attend the New Plymouth workshop. It was a big hurdle physically and mentally to have been without my family supports, performing and being assessed on therapeutic massage, and attending the tutorials for the week. I enjoyed most of it, but afterwards spent a couple of weeks recovering.
I have learnt a lot about natural therapies this year and realise there are definitely some areas which I feel more drawn to than others. It has cemented my idea that diet and other complementary therapies are excellent to assist healing from not only MS, but also many other health issues.
I have passed all of my work so far this year but sometimes it has been hard dealing with extra stress in my day-to-day life, having days when I feel particularly fatigued.
After I have qualified, I intend to be self-employed and appropriately I feel compelled to work with people who have an autoimmune disease. I have been surprised at the lack of understanding from many people, including those within the health industry, who have no idea how this diagnosis can affect people.
Thank you very much for the Scholarship. I really appreciate that you agree I am worthy of receiving this.
I was diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS in 2008. I was 23 at the time, studying law and music at university.
After graduating, I worked as a lawyer in Wellington for four years, until it became clear that my health was significantly impacting my ability to work in this profession.
When I was first diagnosed I sought counselling for assistance in coming to come to terms with my diagnosis, and since then it was always in the back of my mind to help others in a similar way. Prioritising my health, I left my job as a lawyer in December 2014, and commenced studying a Diploma of Professional Counselling in January 2015.
As the first year of counsellor study was in fact my seventh year of requiring a student loan, I applied for the Dorothy L. Newman Scholarship for help in paying my 2016 course fees, 2016 being the final year of this Diploma.
After completing all theory and practical components of this course with an average mark of 92%, I have now achieved my Diploma, and I am working as a counsellor at a women’s centre. Once I gain more experience, I ultimately want to specialise in working with people struggling with health and grief, and support people in the same way I was assisted all those years ago.
I am immensely grateful for the MS Society and the Dorothy L Newman Scholarship’s assistance with my course fees this year; it has been a great help, thank you!
Diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS, Sarah is a mother, wife and author who has dedicated her life to showing people that there is life beyond MS. The panel members were extremely impressed by Sarah’s sense of community action and her strong focus on promoting a healthy lifestyle to the youth of today.
Since her diagnosis, Sarah and her family have moved from Auckland City to the country, to live a happier, healthier lifestyle. Due to fatigue and other problematic MS symptoms, returning to the workplace did not seem a viable option. Prompted by her lifestyle change, Sarah progressed into writing about her gardening and has now written two books: one documenting the journey from city slicker to country bumpkin, and the other to encourage families to get out into the garden and grow fresh food together. Sarah also writes for the New Zealand Herald in their Bite and Plus supplement, has a column on the Go Gardening website, and contributes to their paper magazine. In articles in the Natural Parent magazine and on Kiwifamilies.co.nz, Sarah encourages families to grow their own food.
Sarah doesn’t just sit behind her words, however; she has her own YouTube channel, is a Yates Brand Ambassador, speaks to groups about the benefits of growing food, has been on TV and helps out at her local school garden, mentoring and teaching others who want to garden.
Sarah was awarded the Esme Tombleson ‘Person with MS of the Year’ award in 2015 for her contribution to the MS community.