A young mum who was left temporarily paralysed is set to take part in the
Edinburgh Marathon Festival 5k to raise funds for MS Society Scotland.

Shirley Reise was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2017 after becoming
unable to move from the chest down and experiencing loss of vision.

But less than a year on, and with the help of friends, family and one very special pony, the 33-year- old is raising funds for MS Society Scotland by taking on the EMF 5K this May.

Shirley who works in Fife Council’s Supported Employment Service, said:
“Experiencing paralysis from the chest down and blindness was one of the most
scary and overwhelming experiences of my life. If someone told me that I would be running a 5k nearly a year to the date of diagnosis, I would never have believed it. Going from being in a wheelchair to wearing my trainers and running is unbelievable.”

Shirley, who is mum to Joseph, stuck up an everlasting friendship with her son’s
chestnut Shetland pony Winnie as she began her recovery as well as dealing
with her diagnosis.

Shirley who lives in Pitlessie, Fife, said: “My family and friends would carry me
into the field and let me sit in peace with my horses. Winnie would stand beside
me for hours, grazing and being happy to let me groom her and teach her tricks.

“I developed a special bond with her and she comes for walks with me and my
dogs to get fit in preparation for EMF. Winnie was bought for my son but she has blessed our family in so many ways. Although my son has nearly outgrown her, she has earned her keep for life with us.”

As Shirley looked ahead to see what she could do to support others living with
the neurological condition which affects more than 11,000 people in Scotland,
she decided to look at MS Society Scotland’s fundraising events. And she was
overwhelmed when her colleagues at Fife Council decided to get behind her
upcoming EMF 5k.

Shirley said: “The team surprised me with a box. I opened it to find a stack of
registration papers for each of the team to participate with me and help me get
over the finish line. “I have been blessed with the greatest of colleagues and management within my team. They have been exemplary in the whole concept of ‘practicing what we preach’. I belong to the Supported Employment Service of Fife Council and we help those with health conditions and disabilities obtain employment. Part of what we do also includes the provision of a retention service to those who find themselves developing a health condition or disability whilst in work and finding ways via reasonable adjustments to help people stay in their employment. My team have been an exceptional display of how this ought to be done.

She added: “I have gone from a busy mum, working full time, riding my horse
and being very independent to entirely incapacitated then full circle again.
“The MS Society provided me with a wealth of knowledge and supportive
resources, and I want to raise money for them to do the same for someone else. It’s not just fundraising, it’s literally life changing.”  

Gemma Cowan, Fundraising Events Manager for MS Society Scotland said: “We
are delighted that Shirley is taking part in this amazing challenge to raise funds
for people affected by MS.

“Shirley’s story is extremely inspiring and we were thrilled to also meet her
fantastic companion Winnie. Together they make an incredible team and the
bond between Shirley and Winnie is wonderful.

“As well as this, we were touched to hear about the fantastic support Shirley has received from her colleagues and we are so excited to have them in our MS
Superstars team this year. Fundraisers like Shirley and her team help support
the MS Society to drive research into more – and better treatments for
everyone.”

MS is unpredictable, different for everyone and can affect how a person thinks,
feels and moves. The MS Society also provide a free confidential helpline on
0808 800 8000 which offers information and support on everything from being
newly diagnosed to treatment options.

For more information on the work of the MS Society, please visit
www.mssociety.org.uk