The diagnosis of multiple sclerosis was no surprise to this educated young woman who had been struggling with health problems without a diagnosis for some time. Her gut instinct told her there was something seriously wrong when she experienced paralysis from the waist down. Her diagnosis was not a shock, but a relief.
Following an alarmingly tough youth and having to grow up way too fast, this intelligent and focused individual was determined to excel in her educational pursuits. She found enormous support from her high school community which allowed her to complete her education.
After a number of years, with a misdiagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome repeatedly being focused on by health professionals, an MRI finally revealed the truth - in vivid black and white - three years ago at the age of 27. Since then, meeting the love of her life totally changed her direction for the better. Her devoted husband threw in his job to care for Jessica during a severe relapse and a very dark time in her life.
Since then things improved greatly, with Jessica and her husband welcoming a son into their life in 2011. “It can be a struggle sometimes as a new mum, but it is all worth it.” While achieving a Bachelor of Nursing, Jessica also took control of her health and body as best she could, educated herself about multiple sclerosis and the effects of a healthy diet and commenced gym training to improve muscle mass. She is now a qualified personal trainer and champion power-lifter!
Jessica was asked to train with the Paralympics Power Lifting Team at the Australian Institute of Sport. Since joining the team, Jessica has competed in more than 15 competitions. 2014 has been a highlight, with her competing at the World Championships (Dubai), gaining her World #7 ranking and Commonwealth Games (Glasgow) where she placed 4th, just missing out on a medal. Jessica proudly feels that: “It was my dream to go to the Commonwealth Games and I was so proud to represent my country”.
Jessica is now focusing on her intention to compete internationally again soon in order to qualify for the Olympics in Rio in 2016.
Jessica has strived to overcome many obstacles, but has accomplished everything to get to where she is today. Her dedication to work and healthy education ethic means her future looks bright. With her loving husband by her side, they are looking forward to a wonderful future, full of happiness and success.
MS Ambassador Jessica Gray is a down to earth speaker who will share with you how her life experiences have been instrumental in assisting her to survive and thrive in a happy life.
- Achievements in Powerlifting since 2011
- 5 Australian records
- One Oceanic record
- Placed first in 11 power-lifting competitions both able body and Paralympic
- Placed 9th in the world in her class (Paralympic) World Title
What people have said about Jessica's speaking spots:
- "The positive aspect of how she is living her dreams despite having multiple sclerosis was fantastic - thank you so much for giving up your time to speak to our girls again." - Firbank Grammar