Multiple sclerosis sufferer meets the love of her life – at an MS convention
When Vicki Jones went to a medical conference to learn about her multiple sclerosis she never imagined she would meet her dream man.
But just two years after spotting each other in a hotel reception, Vicki, 39, and Scott Clark, 36 – who also has MS – live together with their nine-month-old daughter Rose.
Payroll officer Vicki was diagnosed with MS in 2015.
The incurable condition affects the brain and spinal cord, causing problems with muscle control, vision and fatigue.
“I was in a wheelchair within a matter of months,” she said. “I felt my whole life had been ripped apart.”
Medication helped Vicki get back on her feet. But dating was hard.
One boyfriend broke up with her because he was embarrassed by her bladder problems.
“I believed I’d never meet anyone or have kids,” Vicki said. “I even thought about having a baby on my own but how would I have coped?”
After joining online support charity, Shift.MS, she jumped at the chance of going to their conference in Prague, where she could learn more about coping with the illness from experts and meet other young people with the condition.
She noticed Scott as she walked into the hotel: “It was love at first sight for both of us,” Vicki said.
“We stayed up talking the whole night and were inseparable for the rest of the weekend.”
Scott, who works in customer services, agreed: “We just clicked. Not because we both had MS, but as people. Vicki instantly felt like the person I was supposed to be with.”
Scott had been diagnosed in 2014 and was at a low point.
Based in Scotland, he had just come out of a difficult relationship with the mother of his two children.
“Going to MS Sessions and meeting Vicki put a burst of positivity into me,” he said.
Although there were a lot of hurdles in their way, love conquered all for Scott and Vicki.
Long-distance for more than a year, they spoke every day and saw each other on alternate weekends.
Scott moved down to Birmingham at Christmas, a month before Vicki gave birth to Rose by planned Caesarean section in January 2019.
“When I heard Rose cry for the first time, I wept with happiness and so did Scott,” Vicki says.
“Having her has been wonderful and we’ve coped well. It will be hard when she starts running around!
“Multiple sclerosis is not hereditary but, if the worst happened, we would be in the best place to help.”
The couple say having a partner with the same illness has pros and cons.
“We totally understand how the other is feeling and don’t get embarrassed by clumsiness or bladder problems.
“But on days we’re both struggling, it’s hard to support each other,” says Vicki, but she adds: “It’s important to stay optimistic, if you don’t believe things can get better, they won’t.”
Scott said. “We’re learning ways to not let our problems cause friction. My MS is really bad at the moment and I am finding it difficult to sleep or to eat.
“But being with someone who understands and loves me 100 per cent helps me to stay positive.”
To get more information on the condition, visit the Shift website.
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