Emily’s fund-raiser saves vital support group from closure

Emily Brown (left) presents the cheque to group founder Lisa Black
Emily Brown (left) presents the cheque to group founder Lisa Black

A WORTHING multiple sclerosis group has been saved, thanks to the daughter of a sufferer.

Emily Brown, 21, of West Buildings, took matters into her own hands when the future of the informal Ladies That Lunch group was threatened due to lack of funds.

The lunch group, set up by MS specialist nurse Lisa Black, gives women with MS the opportunity to meet others, get advice and guidance from a specialist nurse and hear from speakers on a variety of subjects.

Emily’s mum, Debbie Holden, 52, was diagnosed with MS around five years ago, and has been attending the group for the last two years.

Upon hearing about the group’s impending closure, Emily set about organising a fund-raising event to save it – and, with the help of her mum, managed to raise £1,142 to secure the future of the group.

The horse-racing fund-raiser, held at the Valley Bar in Findon in August, allowed around 50-60 participants to bet on horse races displayed on a projection screen, and also featured a raffle and a barbecue.

Players could also bid for horses in a virtual auction, and the owner of the winning horse was presented with a trophy.

Emily said: “I know how much my mum gets from coming to the group, so I really wanted to do something to help. I am so pleased the fund-raising event was a success – we had a lot of help from local businesses and I’m really grateful for everyone that supported us and was so generous.”

She added: “We’re looking to make this an annual event because everyone seemed to have such a good time.”

Founder of the group, specialist nurse Lisa Black said: “I started this group because I felt that local women with MS would benefit from meeting others who also had the disease. It gives me the opportunity to meet the ladies regularly, talk to them about how they are and give advice about living with MS.

“I was extremely emotional receiving the cheque and so grateful to Emily and her mum for organising the event. I’m thrilled that the group can continue to meet as I know how much it means to the ladies that come here.”

Debbie said she is proud of her daughter for stepping in.

She said: “When I first heard about it I was really reluctant to go. I’m so pleased I did because it gives me a chance to talk to others about the challenges of MS and also to Lisa about any medical concerns. But, most importantly, it’s a fun and supportive place to meet friends. We never thought we would raise so much but we’re delighted the group can continue.”