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Caris Takes On China!

The Great Wall of China is quite the destination to tick off one’s bucket list, and in October we finally get to do that!

Caris Tonkin, one of our lovely participants has always wanted to tick the Great Wall of China off her bucket list. Caris said, “It’s such a bonus that it is raising funds for something I am so passionate about and something that is so close to my heart. I really wanted to travel more this year and it just came at such a good time. It was obviously meant to be”.

In July 2010, Caris found out that her mother Gayle was diagnosed with MS during a normal day at university. “I remember dad calling me and telling me about it. The very next day we had a lecture on neurological conditions and MS was one of them. I remember feeling so overwhelmed and I got pretty emotional. I didn’t understand exactly what MS was when dad told me, but learning about it the very next day gave me some sort of empathy for mum and more of an understanding of what she was silently dealing with every day”.

Caris refers to MS as a ‘silent disease’ due to her mum’s invisible MS symptoms, as every day is a challenge. Caris’ mum had to stop working as her symptoms worsened, while her dad was made redundant in a few jobs along the way. But their family bond kept them strong and they overcame the health and financial challenges that came with Gayle’s diagnosis.

Today, Caris is a physiotherapist who completed her Exercise & Health Science undergraduate degree. Since her mum’s diagnosis, her outlook on life changed a lot, particularly in regards to her work career. “Being a physiotherapist, I treat mum weekly and she comes along to my Pilates reformer classes which I run for strength and balance with a friend who’s also living with MS. I am really passionate about neurological conditions since finding out about mum, because it is something really close to my heart. Even though I am on her case a lot, for example when she is running around like a mad woman trying to do everything and when she’s gardening out in 40 degree heat, I know she appreciates it. Now I understand more about MS, I know fatigue and heat make her symptoms worse”.

Caris has never done anything like The Great Wall of China before. Her mother actually sent the challenge to her jokingly, but she ended up signing up right away. “She knows me too well”, said Caris. Raising awareness and funds for MS research is Caris’ main priority, but as she’s never been to China, she can’t wait to see what this beautiful country has to offer!

Join Caris on this epic adventure and find out more information here!