MS Awareness Week: Neil’s Leuchie Story

Neil, who has MS, has been coming to Leuchie House for short respite breaks since 2010. Here he explains the difference these breaks make to him and his family.

I remember walking back to the locker room after a game of rugby and thinking, “why am I limping? I don’t remember injuring myself?”

Within a few months, I was diagnosed at the age of 16 with MS. My life changed forever.

I could no longer play rugby or golf. I had to learn to write with my opposite hand. In fact, my condition progressed so rapidly that I was having to use a wheelchair before I even made it to my next birthday. I remember being worried that I wouldn’t be able to go to Italy with the school orchestra in which I played the double bass. It was a very difficult time for me. I was scared and didn’t see the point of carrying on when I could no longer do the same activities as my friends, things that had been such a large part of my life before.

It is only with the help of others that I have been able to accept my condition and learn to enjoy life for what it is – although I could no longer play an instrument, I was able to travel to Italy after all, and my teacher and friends helped push my wheelchair when I got tired.

Today, I no longer feel like a victim. I am happily married to my lovely wife, Joanna, and have two beautiful children, aged thirteen and eight.

My family doesn’t see me as having a condition, and just Neil or Dad. In fact, my children have crawled all over my wheelchair for cuddles over the years (although they might deny this as teenagers). And, my wife jokes that I’m the perfect shopping partner at Christmas because I can carry all the bags in my lap!

But, due to severity of my condition, there are times when our family needs a break. My wife has said to me before that ‘one less makes a big difference’ and at times, I know she means me too. Raising children is hard enough without the added responsibilities of being a full time carer.

Leuchie House allows my wife the chance to relax and recharge her batteries knowing that I am well looked after and receiving 24 hour medical care. And, it makes a big difference to her to know that I am happy. At Leuchie, I am not restricted to a hospital room or care home – I am able to socialise with other guests, treated to delicious home-cooked meals and enjoy choosing from a range of trips, activities and therapies.

During my last stay, I shared a room with another guest named Kenny and had such a good time. We spent the whole week sharing belly laughs and are hoping to come back at the same time again in the future.

For me Leuchie is a home away from home and helps families like mine continue to thrive and enjoy life, even with MS. 

  • Call us to find out more 01620 892 864