Fitness instructor on the ball to help Brain Centre

A fitness instructor diagnosed with debilitating condition multiple sclerosis hopes to aid research into neurological conditions with a fundraising charity ball.

Bev Wright was shocked to discover she had the condition last year. She assumed her symptoms were related to injuries sustained in her career.

She said: “As I am sure you can imagine I was devastated, I thought that all my symptoms were injury related due to my profession but no – after an MRI scan, I heard the consultant mention lesions on the brain and the words MS and if I’m honest not much else.”

Mrs Wright, 50, has worked at all the large gyms across Leeds, after qualifying as a fitness instructor in 1992. She initially saw a physiotherapist after she suffered she thought was a shoulder injury.

But after developing hip problems, a ‘drop foot’ and numbness in her rib cage, went to her GP and was referred for tests. She was diagnosed with MS on Valentine’s Day last year.

She quickly decided that she wanted to raise funds in some way to help fight conditions such as MS.

After attending a fundraising ball for the Bexley Wing at St James’s University Hospital in Leeds, she got together with a small group of friends to hold a MS charity ball.

A total of 180 guests attended the ball, raising £6,300, which was given to the West Yorkshire MS Therapy Centre in Rawdon, and a local branch of the MS Society.

But Mrs Wright says she and her friends decided to make the ball an annual event.

“So when I was chatting to the director of the Yorkshire Brain Research Centre, a brand new, Leeds-based charity that is looking into why one in six of us develop a neurological condition, they seemed the obvious choice for the funds,” she said.

“Initially the Centre is looking at MS, dementia – I lost my Dad last October, he had Alzheimer’s – epilepsy and Parkinson’s.”

Mrs Wright hopes the ball will also raise awareness of these “invisible” conditions.

She said: “I know that since being diagnosed the number of people who don’t really understand what MS is or does is staggering and I’m usually met with the “but you look so well” so hopefully events such as ours is also raising awareness.”

The ball will be held at the Queens Hotel in Leeds on November 1. Tickets will cost £55 each, to include a three course meal, wine, live band and DJ.

For more details e-mail or visit the Enchanted Evening MS Charity Ball page on Facebook for details.