“I can’t stop and I won’t stop” Jillian Kingsford Smith

Earlier this year Jillian Kingsford Smith phoned us, “I have a little fundraising idea”. We knew this one wouldn’t be small, because Jillian never really does anything on the small scale. Fast-forward 6 months and Jillian’s ‘small’ fundraising idea, was covering an entire building in a mosaic light show of people Kissing Goodbye to MS. We told you she doesn’t do things by halves!

Jillian Kingsford Smith wears a few hats. She is an established journalist, an author of several books and the chairwoman of Brisbane’s largest community festival. She is also an Ambassador of Kiss Goodbye to MS, but more than that she has come to be a wonderful friend and mentor to our team. Jillian has MS, but she doesn’t have much time for that particular role that life has dealt her.

“I do things at a pace now that I would never have dreamed of doing, because every second counts. There are a lot of things I want to get done. I can’t stop and I won’t stop.”

Jillian’s MS diagnosis journey is quite different from most. At 42 years of age she was simultaneously diagnosed with breast cancer and MS. She beat breast cancer, and then began researching on how to manage her MS symptoms. She went looking for information, specifically for an action plan. And when she couldn’t find what she was looking for she wrote it herself. Since her diagnosis Jillian has written two books, and is currently polishing off her third.

On top of all this, she successfully executed that ‘small’ fundraising idea we mentioned. Jillian put Kiss Goodbye to MS to the board of the Teneriffe Festival and we were honoured to be named the official Charity Partner. The Teneriffe Festival is a one day festival on the streets of Brisbane attended by 50,000 people. We called out to you to upload selfies blowing a kiss, along with a $5 donation. We received hundreds of pictures which proudly decorated the Wool Stores at the festival.

As part of our partnership with the Teneriffe Festival, Kiss Goodbye to MS will also receive a percentage of the gate takings. A huge thank you to our incredible volunteers who manned the gates at the Teneriffe Festival with huge smiles on their faces! We are still finalising the books, but so far we have raised more than $5,000 for research into MS.

Jillian said, “So I’ve now got a few guiding principles to how I live my life. Principle number one is to say “yes” first and worry about the consequences later. This understandably gets me in a bit of trouble but it also contributes to the adventure.  I’d rather give something a go and fail trying than sit around wondering if it might work. And that’s not to say the wear and tear of taking on too much doesn’t show, but if I didn’t try it, it would be like taking part of my DNA away.”

Jillian is a huge inspiration, not only for people living with MS, but for every person out there trying to live their best possible life. She lives her life without fear or regret, and we are privileged to be invited along for the ride.