A north-east man has reached the finals of a prestigious national awards ceremony.
Alan Beevers, 63, from Forres will be recognised at the 2017 Multiple Sclerosis Awards for his work to improve services for people living with the condition.
Mr Beevers, who has lived with the disease for 15 years, is one of three “Campaigners of the Year” , who will attend a ceremony this evening in London.
He said: “Multiple Sclerosis first came into my life in 2002 when I noticed difficulty with my walking. A year later, with this getting worse, I had an MRI scan and was diagnosed with Primary Progressive MS and told there was no cure and no treatment.
“During the past 14 years, my mobility has steadily worsened and I am now a full-time wheelchair user. I also have problems with my grip and, like most people with MS, suffer from fatigue – a nasty ‘invisible’ symptom.”
However, his determination and positive attitude shines through and he has managed to remain upbeat.
He added: “In my heart, I feel well because I’ve managed to let go of ‘poor me’ -a very tempting but useless response – and feel committed to managing my condition and leading the best life I can.”
Mr Beevers highlighted the support network of those in the Moray community and has set up a website (www.MSMoray.net) for those looking for information and support.
He said: “I was delighted to hear I have been nominated as the MS Society ‘Campaigner of the Year’ and particularly pleased that the efforts of the MS Community in Moray have been recognised.”
“We’ve done a great deal of work to try to improve the quality of life for people affected in Moray. Travelling long distances can be difficult or impossible for people with MS.”
Chronic fatigue, pain, spasms and mobility difficulties are commonplace for sufferers.
Mr Beevers thinks the solution is to bring the specialist services to those with the condition and one way to do that is through video conferencing which, despite being its in the early stages, has had positive feedback.
He added: “The Moray MS Community has been successful at putting VC high on the agenda of the NHS. At the same time, we continue to support ourselves through regular gatherings, sharing hints and tips and raising the profile and understanding of MS.
“Living with MS can be hard – but it’s not the end of the road. Campaigning for better health and care services helps me to feel alive and the support and friendship of all the others involved in Moray is precious.”
MS affects over 11,000 people in Scotland and more than 100,000 across the UK.
The ceremony will be held at County Hall in London and will be attended by a host of celebrities from TV, radio, music and sport.