Lauren O'Callaghan

I am running to leave MS behind

My Progress

My Progress

102.04km

My Target

100km

Support my challenge to leave MS behind!

This year I'm proud to say that I am taking part in The May 50K to support MS Ireland. My main goal is to get moving again, taking back control of my fitness which took a huge hit after I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in December 2020.


Last year I watched in awe as Cathal took on the May 50K challenge himself, where he ran an incredible 101K and absolutely smashed his target raising €2,021 (his initial target was €200). Each time Cathal went out for a run he ran for me and when he thought he couldn't go any further, he pushed through and broke all limits that he set himself. Our close family, friends, extended family and friends of friends reached out and supported Cathal and I as we adjusted to my new and life changing diagnosis. It was so heartwarming and we are so grateful for the messages of support from everyone, to be honest I think the love from everyone got me though those months in April, May and June last year.


I couldn't have imagined this time last year that I would be in a position to take on the challenge myself. In April 2021 I had just been discharged from hospital after suffering a relapse and being told that my MRI showed a lot of new lesions on my brain. This hit me like a ton of bricks, having just been officially diagnosed 4 months earlier I feared the worst - that this was simply going to be my life now... MRIs hospital stays, IV steroids, more lesions more medication.


The relapse in April 2021 was visible, the left side of my face was drooping, almost like a stroke, something which all those around me could easily see. But the reality is that (along with many other chronic illnesses), the majority of MS symptoms are invisible. Every day I have double-vision, something which I have learned to adjust to. Fatigue is debilitating, interfering with the simple daily tasks that I took for granted before my diagnosis. Dizziness strikes when I'm tired or have been too busy.  Altered sensations or tingling is another symptom which I have daily, a feeling that the soles of my feet are burning or a particular spot on my right arm which feels like it is sunburnt. These things are small but a constant reminder of the chronic illness that I have, a little whisper to remind me that I have MS and that it is not something that is going to go away.


I'm still adjusting to my new limits, sometimes it is one step forwards, two steps back. But a positive mindset and focusing on my inner strength has gotten me to where I am today. I don't know what challenges I will face in the future with my MS but thankfully I can say that I am now one whole year relapse free, and now I want to make that 2 years!


So today, Cathal and I started a warm up for our May 50k challenge. We left the house with the goal of walking/jogging as much as I could manage, no targets or goals, just whatever I felt comfortable with. When we got home and realised that we had managed to go over 5k I was so proud of myself. I keep a good level of fitness but to be honest didn't think I would manage that.


Today has given me the confidence to push on now. I'll do the May 50K, whether that is walking, jogging or running, I'll be taking back control of my fitness and leaving my limits behind. Along with Cathal, my mam (one of my biggest supporters), my uncle Barry (my brother when I was growing up!) and my grandad (we've forced him into this one) will be joining us. As Cathal said in his previous post, we'd love if anyone else would like to join our team! Any support or donations, big or small, is so very much appreciated. The world is a better place when we all come together and give each other a helping hand. Thanks everyone for reading and I'll keep you updated on our progress! 

I’m taking part in The May 50K. I will be taking on 50km throughout May and leaving my limits behind to raise funds for life-changing research into multiple sclerosis, better access to treatments and to support people living with MS in Ireland!

There are over 9,000 people in Ireland living with multiple sclerosis. At the MS International Federation and MS Ireland, it’s our mission to leave MS where it belongs, behind us.

You can now support this work in Ireland and around the world, so I’ve accepted The May 50K challenge to change lives.

Please make a donation to support my challenge.

Thank you so much!

My Updates

30th May - Run #15 6k to get me over 100km target!!

So I have managed to run 102km this May! I have learned a lot this month and am so proud of how far that I have come. Finished it all off with 5K personal record of 27:10 🏃‍♀️💨

29th May - Run #14 7k 🏃‍♀️💨

Second last run of the month. Another tough one in the heat. Struggled for the first 4k but managed to push myself to 7km 💪

27th May - RUN #13 6.8km Last one with Cathal for this May!

Very hot out there again this morning but had a very enjoyable run to Bushy Park 🏃‍♀️💨🏃‍♂️💨. Very proud of my achievements so far this month. On 88km now and pushing to get to 100km for the month of May 💫

26th May - RUN #12 5k with Cathal 💪

Tough one in the heat but delighted to reach 5k!

25th May - RUN #11 8.8km with Cathal!

Very special to run past the MS Ireland Care Centre in Bushy Park Road this evening. It was a really enjoyable run 🏃‍♀️💨🏃‍♂️💨

22nd May - Run #10 5K

Sunday morning 5k to finish off week 3 nicely ✨️

20th May - Run #9 - 10k with Cathal!!

I'm now at 62km and counting in the month of May - 10 days left to go!! . I was so delighted to have ran 10k with Cathal! Secretly, it had been my goal yesterday morning when we headed out (sorry @ceaxle 😅🤣). Managed the run very well and was so proud to have finished the 10k in under an hour as I had been building up to it over the last few weeks. . I had to face the reality of my condition later yesterday evening when I had a flare up of my symptoms. We left the house and I realised that I was finding it difficult to walk. It was so scary and something which I had never experienced before. I had a weakness and trembling in my arms and hands, dizziness returned and my vision was strained. Yet, to those around me I looked completely normal, in fact many people commented on how well I looked and how well I was doing with my running. I put on a brave face. Unfortunately it's hard for people who don't experience these symptoms to understand what is going on with me and my body, so it is easier to put all of these symptoms under the umbrella of 'fatigue'. . I felt embarrassed to share my run as I realised that I've been pushing myself too much. People had warned me and I appreciated their concern, but I insisted that I would listen to my body. There's no question that I was capable of that 10k run yesterday morning but I definitely need to make sure that I'm building in time to completely rest afterwards. I'm not sure if it's part of still processing that I have MS, but certainly over the last few weeks my mindset had changed and I started to behave like I don't have the condition! I had made a conscious decision to push myself further and further. . This has been a really bitter pill to swallow. MS has really taken a lot away from me. I wanted to leave my limits behind in the month of May but the truth is I need to respect those limits, I cannot fight them. I need to listen to them. . I will be dealing with this condition for the rest of my life and don't know if it will progress in the future. I need to look after myself. This is the reality of MS. . It's definitely not the end of my May50K challenge but the pace from now on might be a bit slower. I'll continue to raise awareness for MS and get out for runs as the benefits of the running far outweigh the negatives for me. . The 50K Ramblers are continuing right till the end of May and we are so grateful for your support! If you would like to donate to our fundraiser for The May50K, please click on the link in my bio. All donations, big or small, are so very much appreciated. Donations will support the work of @multiple_sclerosis_ireland, and the MS International Federation and fund research into MS to develop better treatments and to support people living with MS. Thank you 💖 #TheMay50K #MSAwareness #LeavingOurLimitsBehind

17th May - Run #8

Another 5k to bring me over my 50K target!! Everything is a bonus from now on. So grateful to be taking part in The May50K for such an important cause 💖

15th May - Run #7

Solo 5k - broke my 5K personal record 🏃‍♀️💨✨️

Post Run Rewards! ☕️ 👍

13th May - Run #6 9K

Great morning run with Cathal. Longest run so far! 🏃‍♀️💨

10th May - Run #5 8k!!!

NEVER GIVE UP ON YOURSELF🙌💫 . On a complete runner's high after running 8km this evening 🏃‍♀️💨 . After a really busy day and a dizzy spell in work today I wondered whether I should push myself to go for another run this evening. I decided I would go easy on myself, head out and see what I could do. . After a couple of minutes in I knew I could push myself further. I've realised that the power of the mind is so much greater than I ever could have imagined! Very grateful that I was able to do this run this evening 🙌😅 . The support from everyone has been incredible so far and I am so grateful everyone who has donated. Donations will support the work of @multiple_sclerosis_ireland and the MS International Federation and fund research into MS to develop better treatments and to support people living with MS. . #TheMay50K #KissGoodbyeToMS #LeavingMyLimitsBehind #AnotherOneDone✔️

7th May - Run #4 5.86km

5th May - Run #3

Cathal joined me today for 6k 🏃‍♀️💨 🏃‍♀️💨 Very tough at times but we pushed through 🙌

3rd May - RUN #2

Pushed myself this evening as I was not feeling up to much. Happy with the result 🏃‍♀️💨👍

The May50K - Day 1 Done 👍

The support that I have received from everyone so far has been truly amazing 👏❤ When I initially signed up for The May 50K, it felt like a personal challenge, a goal to get back my fitness and take back what MS has taken from me, all while raising awareness of MS and fingers crossed raising some funds for MS Ireland and the MS International Federation. . However.. over the last few days I've discovered it is about so much more! Multiple Sclerosis can be a really cruel and debilitating illness. Those of us who have been diagnosed with MS in recent years generally have much better health prospects due to the advances in medications available. This is amazing, don't get me wrong, but what about all of those people whose lives have been devestated by MS? . The other day I received a message from a lady whose mum has be wheelchair bound for the last 14 years due to MS. She wanted to wish me good luck and best wishes for the May50K. I thanked her for her support and said that I would keep her mum in mind while on my run. This is when it struck me.. not only am I doing the May50K for myself, it is so much bigger than that. I am able to run, so many others with MS cannot run or walk. I am doing this in solidarity with all of those women and men that unfortunately cannot take part in the challenge themselves. . So today when I set out on my run, it had real purpose. I am NOT a person that gets up on Sunday mornings for runs 🙈😅.. This is all new to me. It was very tough at times and it doesn't come naturally to me, but I pushed through, for myself and in solidarity with all those who have MS. #TheMay50K #LeavingOurLimitsBehind #MSAwareness

28th April - Morning Run 5.76km

Morning run with Cathal, it's getting easier every time. Last run before we start the May 50K fresh on Sunday 1st May 🌞🏃‍♀️💨

Starting to Warm Up for the May 50K

On Tuesday evening I ran my first solo 5K without stopping! Big moment for me and something which I actually wouldn't have done even before I was diagnosed. Making progress every day. I felt exhausted before I left the house but the benefits afterwards were amazing 🏃‍♀️👍 #LeavingMyLimitsBehind

Thank you to my Sponsors

105

Institute Of Education

105

Tara And Cian

Cian and I admire your bravery and are delighted to sponsor you and your team.

100

Margaret Mccabe

100

Peter Timmins

So proud of you Lauren! We're with you all the way. Peter & Des

78.75

David Ball

60

Orla Ni Shuilleabhain

52.50

Anonymous

52.50

Carole Oiknine

52.50

Liam Dingle

Well done Lauren!

52.50

Angie Crowe

52.50

Yvonne O'toole

Best of luck Lauren.

52.50

David Connolly

52.50

Judith Curran

Best of luck Lauren

52.50

Louise Boylan

Fantastic! Best wishes for the rest of the challenge Lauren. x

52.50

George O Connor

Good luck Lauren! Fantastic challenge to take on

52.50

Hugh Brett

Best wishes Lauren!

52.50

Anonymous

52.50

Lauren O'callaghan

50

Maire Ni Cheallaigh

50

William Murphy

50

Mary & Hilary Dorgan

50

Aoife Mcardle

Best of luck Lauren, what a brilliant thing to do!

40

Corinne Gavenda

31.50

Cathal O'gara

For my inspiration x

26.25

Margaret Keating

Well done Lauren. May you have much success in managing this illness.

26.25

Woods

You’re an inspiration to all xx

26.25

Lesley Aslin

Congratulations Lauren!!!

26.25

Anonymous

26.25

Neil Mc Knight

Only seeing this now so sorry am late to the party - you're incredible Lauren!

26.25

Helen Casey

Amazing, Lauren! Best of luck!!

25

Begona De La Fuente

25

Wesley Hammond

25

Marc Mulligan

Well done!

25

Marty O Gara

21

Richard Hogan

Well done. Very proud of you.

21

Kate Sadlier

Amazing achievement Lauren :)

21

Brian Gregan

Good luck 🙌

20

Arthur Russell

20

Robbie Cronin

20

Aisling Clifford

20

Mary Boyd

20

Ray O'loughlin

20

Susan Cashel

20

Jill Twomey

Well done Laura your doing fantastic take care, Jill. Fellow MS warrior xx

10.50

Hannah Hennessy

Well done Lauren, you're flying it 😊

10.50

Sarah Byrne

Amazing Lauren! 👏 102k, what an achievement! Best of luck with all the fundraising 😊

10.50

Carmel Kenny

Best of luck Lauren

10

Aleine O'brien

10

Una Finn