Dressing up in red for MS

AN evening of glamour and fun hit Hobart last month, with ‘The Red Affair – A Night for MS’ raising crucial funds for Tasmanians touched by multiple sclerosis (MS).

A group of women living with MS came together to organise a gala evening at the Hobart Function Centre to help raise funds and awareness of MS.

Funds raised were divided equally between the Menzies Institute for Medical Research to further research into finding the cause and a cure for MS, and to MS Limited to provide support services to people living with MS.

Event organising committee member Angela Land, who has lived with MS for six years, said the disease affected people in different ways and had a profound impact on communities throughout the state.

“It’s something we’re very passionate about because Tasmania has the highest number of incidents of MS in Australia, with more than 1,200 people being registered,” she said.

“Women are also three times more likely to get MS than men, and usually it’s women in their prime, so around 30 years of age is the typical diagnosis – just when people are starting their careers and planning to have families.”

MS is often unpredictable and has an episodic nature, which makes it particularly difficult to maintain a consistently rewarding quality of life.

The cost of living with MS in Tasmania averages more than $72,000 per person.

“For me, its biggest impact has been on my mobility, headaches and fatigue,” Mrs Land said.

“Others on our committee spend time caring for family members with MS.”

The Red Affair Ball was established in 2015 by Lisele Rankin after she was diagnosed with MS and wanted to help the community.

“In 2012, I had my first symptom which was optic neuritis, so I couldn’t see out of my left eye,” she said.

“That sent me to the doctor where I went through a series of testing and a year later I was diagnosed with MS.

“Day to day I live with neuropathic pains, which is pins and needles all through my hands and arms, as well as a burning sensation, fatigue and insomnia.”

The event was a cocktail reception featuring champagne cocktails, premium Tasmanian beverages, delicious appetisers and a stand-up meal.

Popular singer Bridget Pross, who has supported acts like Joe Cocker, Josh Pyke, Lior and the John Butler Trio, performed on the evening.

“The Red Affair promises was a fantastic night,” Mrs Land said.

Caption: From left, Red Affair Ball founder Lisele Rankin with event organising committee members Angela Land and Jayne England.