Justine Martin

 

"You will always meet someone worse off than yourself"

When Justine Martin was just nine years old, her mother was diagnosed with MS. She spent much of her young life caring for her mother, who was eventually admitted into the MS facility at Lidcombe when Justine was 22.

After her mother's passing in 1997, Justine became a mother herself and enjoyed a successful career managing teams at Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig and Tupperware.But a decade of experiencing her own episodes of vision disturbances, fatigue, nerve pain and cognitive difficulties eventually led to a diagnosis in 2011 of multiple sclerosis - just like her mother.

Now aged 40, Justine could no longer work because of her symptoms. Determined not to succumb to her illness, she and her partner at the time decided to move from Perth to Geelong to be close to Justine's family for support.

And, at the suggestion of her neurologist, she also took up a new hobby - painting.

She is now an emerging artist and has won a number of prizes for her paintings over the past four years and has also received an MS Go for Gold Scholarship. Donating much of her art to various MS fundraisers, Justine also finds time to visit schools to support the MS Readathon.

Interested in physical fitness, she is a competitive weightlifter and in 2014 she won the Victorian Master State championship for her age/weight. Training four days a week, she believes that lifting weights has improved her balance and walking as well as her mindset.

Not long after being diagnosed, she started a Facebook group 'Supporting each other with MS'. Justine's depth of knowledge about living with the disease is invaluable to her hundreds of followers.

Although her son is in the army, Justine's daughter became her primary carer when her partner found it too difficult to cope and returned to Perth.

But Justine is now in a new relationship and believes together they can deal with life's challenges - including multiple sclerosis.

"I will continue to live a full and rewarding life no matter what is thrown at me. I want to show people that life does continue even with disabilities."

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