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‘I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis aged 22’

PUBLISHED: 17:14 07 July 2020 | UPDATED: 11:51 09 July 2020

Holly Ridgeon, from Lowestoft, was diagnosed with MS at the age of 22. Picture: Holly Ridgeon

Holly Ridgeon, from Lowestoft, was diagnosed with MS at the age of 22. Picture: Holly Ridgeon

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A woman from Lowestoft has opened up about her multiple sclerosis diagnosis at the age of 22.

Holly Ridgeon, 24, wants to raise awareness around MS. Picture: Holly RidgeonHolly Ridgeon, 24, wants to raise awareness around MS. Picture: Holly Ridgeon

Three years ago Holly Ridgeon, now 24, from Blyford Road, woke up one morning with a loss of feeling in one arm which she believed was pins and needles.

The following day, Miss Ridgeon, who is not currently employed, said the sensation progressed before the whole left side of her body felt “numb and heavy” which left her feeling “really scared”.

After five doctor’s appointments, where GPs believed Miss Ridgeon had suffered from an allergic reaction and then a stroke, she saw a consultant who diagnosed her with multiple sclerosis (MS).

MS is an autoimmune condition which can affect the brain and spinal cord causing a range of symptoms including difficulty walking, blurred vision and muscle stiffness and spasms.

Miss Ridgeon said: “When I got the diagnosis I just broke down crying. A couple of people had suggested it when I got the symptoms but I didn’t really know what it was before my diagnosis.

“It was heartbreaking as I was 22 and told that I was ill and there was no cure.”

“I then just chucked it to all to the back of my head. I didn’t want to research it, think about it or tell anyone because I was embarrassed so I kept it all to myself. The next thing I did was just go on a holiday and tried to be as normal as possible.”

Last year Miss Ridgeon’s symptoms, which include back ache and numbness, became more pronounced.

She said: “My symptoms started to show a lot more like really bad fatigue and it made me start dealing with the condition as I hadn’t really spoken about it.

“I saw a counsellor, to talk about things, which was a huge weight off my shoulders as I had always felt like a burden. I then started to let people know and be more open about it.”

Now Miss Ridgeon is determined to raise awareness around MS, particularly those who have been diagnosed with the condition in their early 20s, and has posted a video about her story on social media sites.

She said: “Like everyone you will have good days and bad days but it will be easier. The important thing is to speak up and tell someone and remember you’re not a burden. We’re all in this together and we can get through it. Just live each day and take it as the best.”


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