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Jillian Kingsford Smith – our real life superwoman

A diagnosis with MS can be one of the most confusing and shocking things someone will ever experience. So imagine also being diagnosed with breast cancer at the same time. This was the confronting reality for Jillian Kingsford Smith when she was just 42 years of age.

In defiance to her simultaneous diagnosis of breast cancer and multiple sclerosis, Jillian focused on empowering herself with knowledge. She needed an action plan, and when she hit google looking for that action plan, the answer wasn’t there.

“I was lying in my hospital bed just after I was told I had MS wondering how and why it had happened. But mostly I worried about what I would do next.”

What she did next changed the lives of thousands of people around the world. When she couldn’t find her coveted action plan she decided to write it and publish it.

Since her diagnosis with MS Jillian has written two books, ‘Taking Control’ and ‘Taking Control Together,’ which explore living with MS as well as loving and caring for someone with the disease. She is currently working on a new project that we are excited to share with you in 2017. And that is just in her spare time! Jillian is an established journalist, active member of her community and freelance writer (we like to think of her as a real life superwoman)!

Jillian is living well with her MS, leading a busy and active life in QLD. Over lunch recently she explained to our Kiss Goodbye to MS Campaign Manager how important her support network has been for her. She credited her best friends, who have become her family, for looking out for her… even when she wouldn’t admit she needed looking out for.

Jillian also believes her commitment to stay physically active has made a difference in her overall wellness. She walks each day and goes to Pilates a couple of times a week, where she is able to adjust movements to accommodate her mobility or instability on any given day. Like many people with MS, Jillian experiences heat sensitivity, which can be amplified while exercising. But, in true ‘Jillian’ style, she doesn’t let that slow her down. Her solution? She takes a small frozen ‘cool pack’ with her to the reformer Pilates classes, which she can place on her shoulders or behind her back throughout the session. Genius!

Kiss Goodbye to MS is a unique fundraising campaign that has become a community. Each day we speak with amazing people who have their own stories, trials and triumphs – and it is these stories that inspire us in the work that we do. Jillian is just one of the incredible people that we have met who are living with MS, and are working hard to help others who are experiencing similar things.

Stay tuned for Jillian’s new project in 2017 – we can’t wait to tell you about it.