“Emotionally frozen” was how Monique described her feelings when during 2003, at just fourteen years of age, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis – the most common chronic neurological disease of young adults.
Unexplained and transient symptoms of pins and needles, chronic fatigue and clumsiness from a young age, were frustratingly elusive and mysterious, but dismissed by this young effervescent teenager, until she had mobility difficulties and was walking into walls.
Upon admission to a neurological ward, Monique felt she was now a “science project”, being poked, prodded and peered at by an endless succession of doctors. An emotional rollercoaster had begun, with an overwhelming feeling of fear at the rapid deterioration of a young healthy teenager. She felt she was just “existing” in a surreal world and was being robbed of her childhood.
Following treatment and discharged home and back on her feet, Monique found solace in returning to school part-time. She was surrounded by a caring and supportive group of friends, family and teachers and was now in a happy place.
Having little knowledge of multiple sclerosis, Monique attended information sessions conducted by our MS Services department to educate herself and her family. She did not want anyone to tip toe around the change in her life but to accept, support and understand. Life went on with Monique completing her VCE and then followed university, all the while transitioning through various disease modifying therapies.
At times she wanted to scream at the top of her lungs at the unfairness that life had thrown her way, but today this twenty-six year old Youth Worker is studying a Bachelor in Youth Work, and travelling the world when time allows. She is goal-focused with a keen desire to help other young people to learn about multiple sclerosis in her role as an MS Ambassador.
MS Ambassador Monique as an inspirational speaker who will assist you to feel that the only way is up and the sky is the limit.
What people have said about Monique's speaking spots:
- "Monique was confident, clear, inspiring and everyone loved her presentation, we were all shocked when she told us it was her first speaking engagement!"
- "You’re very lucky to have such a competent young person present."