Living in - and with - hope

The recent publicity around advances in the treatment of multiple sclerosis using stem cell transplant has raised the possibility of remission for some forms of the condition.

For many of our guests at Leuchie House, news of new developments brings something more than just advances in the management of their condition, it also reignites a feeling of hope.

For anyone receiving a devastating MS diagnosis, it must be impossible not to dream of a future where medical progress will offer them a positive outcome. Many people with the condition will be wondering what this new treatment might mean for them. Indeed, the stories that were presented showed great progress in the clinical trials taking place. 

Whlle this is, of course, potentially a wonderful development for some, there is the also the need to have realistic expectations. The detail behind the headlines has shown that this treatment is not for everyone and that not all types of MS will respond.

Living in hope is not unique to Leuchie House guests. We each of us live in hope every day and our hopes can revolve around a myriad of things. It might be the dream of winning the rollover lottery, overcoming adversity, being happy and healthy - the hopes and dreams we all have are unique and individual. But even in the face of incredible adversity, the human capacity to live in hope is amazing.

Whether that hope comes from faith, the love and support of family and friends, or elsewhere, there is no denying the power of the emotion. The excitement, the feeling of pure joy that often accompanies hope, in itself brings its own positive effects. Optimism, or a glass half full nature, call it what you will, has been proven to have a major impact on wellbeing. 

Despite the fact that, for some, a cure for their illness is a long way away or will never come, hope allows life to move on and gives them the strength to continue. This optimism is truly inspiring and reminds us never to give up on our dreams.

(By Mairi O'Keefe, Chief Executive, Leuchie House. Published in the East Lothian Courier, 18 February 2016.)