Mayor to run Dublin Marathon to raise awareness of multiple sclerosis

By Maurice Garvey 

MAYOR of South Dublin County Mark Ward will run in the Dublin Marathon on Sunday, October 28, to raise awareness around multiple sclerosis (MS).

The Sinn Fein councillor was diagnosed with MS in 2005, on a walking stick at the age of 32, and slipped into depression for a number of years.

FB Mark Ward Marathon

Mayor Mark Ward 

He is scheduled to get his first MRI scan in eight years, two days after the marathon to see if the illness has progressed.

“I have been in training for the marathon for eight months,” said Mayor Ward.

“When I started, I ran from lamp post to lamp post, but over time I gradually increased my distances. The confidence I have got from running is unreal and the support and well wishes I have got from everyone has been inspirational.

“I am one of over 800,000 Irish people who are living with neurological conditions, such as migraine, epilepsy, stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and rare and genetic neurological conditions.”

Earlier this year, Ward publicly announced his condition, albeit he had mentioned it briefly at a previous council meeting when MS came up on the agenda, startling his fellow councillors.

He believed his life was over after the diagnosis in 2005, citing “non-existent” after care from the HSE and struggled with depression.

However, the fear of losing his children “kick started a psychic change” and he began improving his diet, quitting alcohol, exercising, and enrolling in college.

After qualifying as a behavioural therapist and working with people struggling from addiction issues, he then became a local councilor.

Regarding his upcoming MRI scan, Ward acknowledges that the physical and psychological effects of MS have abated over the years but he has “no idea if the disease has progressed in a neurological sense.”

“As well as raising awareness about MS I am also raising much needed funds for MS Ireland.

"People can sponsor me on,” he said.

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