THE family of a Worthing multiple sclerosis sufferer are walking from Brighton to Worthing on Saturday (October 1) to raise awareness of the debilitating condition.
Georgina Pottinger, 33, of Slindon Road, Broadwater, will walk the 14-mile journey alongside husband Nick, 39, and brothers Christopher and Ross August, 27 and 24, respectively, to raise £1,000 for the MS Society.
Georgina’s mother, Karen August, 49, was diagnosed with MS at the age of 29.
Although she led a relatively normal life until the age of 34, Karen’s condition has grown progressively worse and she has been bed-bound for the last seven years.
Karen, cared for by her mother, Pat Simpson, at her Worthing home, can no longer move or speak, and has to be fed through a food peg in her stomach.
She has undergone two brain operations to try to control her tremors, has lost her bladder and suffers from severe bed sores and repeated chest infections.
“It’s horrible to see someone you love degenerate so quickly,” said Georgina.
“Mum can blink at us and just about smile, but she now needs 24-hour care; we have a nurse at the flat all day.”
Georgina, who has a five-year-old daughter and a four-year-old son, said her children had never known their grandmother any differently.
“They have only known their nan lying in bed,” said Georgina.
“The kids are good with it and they come in to see her, give her kisses and sing songs to her, but I wish they could have known her before she got this bad.”
The walk will take place on Saturday, starting at the Pavilion Café in East Brighton Park, Brighton, and ending at The Cricketers pub in Broadwater Street West, Broadwater.
At the same time as Georgina and her family do their walk, a tandem event of an identical length and time will be carried out by her cousin from Market Harborough to Northampton.
The Cricketers pub is also holding a fund-raising event upon the arrival of the group, which will feature a raffle, stand-up bingo, a bouncy castle and games for both adults and children.
Georgina said the walk would be emotional for her and her family.
“I may get a bit uspet because it’s been very difficult recently, with Mum going into 24-hour care,” she said.
“But I think it is important to raise awareness, because MS sufferers do not show any signs early on, but it becomes completely debilitating, and people need to know that.”
Georgina added: “The MS Society also do fantastic work, and their efforts need to be recognised.”
To sponsor the group, visit http://beatms.mssociety.org.uk/netcommunity/walkforms