Shara Gillahan

 

"Live life to the fullest"

Spring Racing Carnival is the busiest time of the year for Shara Gillahan. But on Oaks Day 2010, the 33-year-old budding milliner woke to numbness down the left side of her body. Thinking she had just pinched a nerve, she set off for the track believing her osteopath could set it right during their appointment the next day.

But her osteopath quickly recognised it was more serious and Shara was sent for an MRI and an appointment with a neurologist. Within a few weeks, she was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.

Although working in a banking sales support role, Shara had discovered her real passion was designing and making hats after completing a TAFE course in millinery in 2007.

Following her diagnosis she decided to save for her dream millinery adventure to the United Kingdom and Ireland to learn from the best.

Additionally Shara approached the MS Connect Information Line to gather accurate and up to date information about multiple sclerosis and consulted with MS nurses around medication options.

Fatigue had forced her to work part-time therefore saving enough money for the trip was proving difficult. Luckily, staff at the MS organisation told her about the MS Go For Gold scholarship program that provides financial assistance to help those with MS 'live their dream'.

Her own dream became a reality in 2013 when she travelled to Ireland, London (including Royal Ascot), New York, and San Francisco on an MS Go for Gold Scholarship for Employment to learn from some of the world's best milliners.

Today Shara cherishes all the skills and knowledge she gathered on her trip of a lifetime and is confident that she can grow her millinery label. She especially wants to teach millinery to others and share her love of the craft.

Most of all she wants to help others with multiple sclerosis to reach their goals as well as raise awareness of the disease.

"I want to be a person who is remembered for achieving dreams and goals and not as that person who had multiple sclerosis. And more importantly, I want this for others with multiple sclerosis!"

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If you would like to book an MS Ambassador, please free-call MS Connect on 1800-042-138 or email: ambassadors-vic@ms.org.au (for VIC Ambassadors), ambassadors-nsw@ms.org.au (for NSW).

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