A woman with multiple sclerosis claims a local day service ‘opened up her life’

A woman with multiple sclerosis says her life has been transformed by an “amazing” support centre.

Zillah Damon, 44, was diagnosed with the condition that affects the nerve system in 1994.

It was predicted that she’d be confined to wheelchair within a year, but Zillah, who lives in Barry , defied the odds and managed to live without a wheelchair until 2010.

She said: “I managed to fight it for a long time.

“But it was quite a shock when I was diagnosed.”

(Photo: Dan Damon)

Even though she has lived with the condition for years, Zillah discovered a support centre, called New Horizons Day Service, around a year ago and she claims it has “opened up her life.”

“A lot of people don’t know it’s there, but I thought it was amazing when I went to see what they do,” explained Zillah.

“They offer a lot of services there.

“As well as having a specialised gym, they have a woodwork workshop.

“There is also a hair salon, but I mostly use the gym equipment.

“It’s opened up my life completely, and I don’t think there is another facility like it in Wales.”

Members and friends of New Horizons Day Service take on a mini-triathlon to raise money for the scheme (Photo: New Horizons Day Service)

Zillah attends New Horizons three times a week.

As well as offering facilities for Zillah to build her strength, New Horizons also gives her the opportunity to socialise with other people.

She said: “Seeing other people using wheelchairs, while remaining so buoyant, is so encouraging.

“I hope more people will learn about New Horizons because what the service offers is so great.”

The service, based at Y Hên Goleg, is available to adults with disabilities aged 18 and over.

Linda Ruston, day centre officer at New Horizons, explained: “People who come to the sessions have MS may be recovering from a stroke and some also have conditions such as arthritis.

“A lot of people who attend the group once lived ‘normal lives’, and had regular day jobs, so they are having to learn to come to terms with their conditions.”

Friends and members of New Horizons Day Service dressed up to raise money for the project (Photo: New Horizons Day Service)

Even though the scheme is council funded, the team says they like to “think outside the box” and raise extra funds for equipment like specialised bikes.

There are around 50 members in the group and the friends of New Horizons are now joining members to partake in a ‘mini triathlon’ to raise more money for the project.

Those involved will be challenged to a 500 metre swim, a 5k cycle and a 5k walk or run.

But participants will take part in accordance with their abilities.

It will take place along the Ffordd Y Mileniwm in Barry and Dan Damon, Zillah’s father, will take part alongside his daughter.

He said: “I will be walking and jogging alongside Zillah’s wheelchair during the event.

“When she discovered New Horizons it offered her somewhere to go.

“Her big goal is to be able to stand up again.

“It’s what she really wants to be able to do.”

He added that the Vale of Glamorgan Council should be praised for keeping things like this going.

After visiting the centre, he has seen what a “positive impact” the scheme is having on people.

Dan said: “People who otherwise would be inactive and lonely get together to play a range of sports.”

The mini triathlon will take place on Wednesday, June 21 at 1pm.

For more information about the event, or the New Horizons project, contact Linda on lruston@valeofglamorgan.gov.uk.

Source: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/woman-multiple-sclerosis-claims-local-13201577

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