Informal support group for MS patients aims to evolve into charity

Kelly John, who is setting up the charity Mustard Soup, to help people with MS.

Kelly John, who is setting up the charity Mustard Soup, to help people with MS. - Credit: Archant

A former solicitor is encouraging the public to join a charity she is creating to support people who live with multiple sclerosis.

Kelly John, 43, of Norwich, used to specialise in getting compensation for victims of brain injuries in London until the debilitating condition forced her to quit.

Now she is setting up a new charity to help people affected by the illness in the region – after four years of running an informal support group which has grown in popularity.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a condition which can affect the brain and/or spinal cord, causing a wide range of potential symptoms – including problems with vision, arm or leg movement, sensation or balance. There is no known cure.

Ms John, who was diagnosed with the condition 12 years ago, has organised meetings roughly every two months for MS patients and their families for the last four years.

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The meetings provide a place where those people can talk about the condition, swap tips about living with it, and socialise with peers.

But several members have begun fundraising for the group to help finance events, activities, and further support – leading Ms John to start formalising it by making it a charity, which will be called Mustard Soup.

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It comes just days after the group organised an information day where people with MS and their families met with experts from the Centre for Neuroscience and Trauma at Barts Health Trust and the London School of Medicine.

'After I was diagnosed I sat at home thinking 'this is so awful' and I felt like my life was over,' she added. 'It was really tough and I became more isolated at home. It became apparent that that was an experience many would be having so I thought I needed to do something about it.'

The group is open to people of all ages, but is aimed at people who have recently been diagnosed. Ms John expects to launch it officially as a charity in the next eight weeks.

The next social is on Saturday, 19th November, at Cafe Bar Marzano at the Forum, Norwich, at 6.30pm.

For more information email

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