Meet our Ambassador Jemma Barsby
Teenage problems usually consist out of love sickness and deciding which career path is the right one – a MS diagnosis certainly isn’t on the radar! Our new Kiss Goodbye to MS Ambassador Jemma Barsby was diagnosed with MS at only 19 years old.
Jemma grew up in a very sporty family who’s backyard cricket games quickly deepened her love and passion for the sport and Jemma’s dream of pursuing it on an elite basis. Thanks to her supportive coach and Jemma’s ability to bowl with both hands, Jemma’s training began to pay off when she was 15, as she made her elite cricketing debut for Queensland Fire. Jemma is now one of the hottest talents in Australian cricket and made the Australia A Women’s side in 2012.
Three years later as a young professional with a promising career ahead, Jemma was faced with her MS diagnosis. Although having dealt with some incredibly difficult times since her diagnosis, Jemma is now 22 years old and more determined than ever to not let MS get in the way of her love for cricket and representing her country. “It’s made me not take life for granted,” she said. “To be able to do what I love, to be able to play cricket, still is amazing.”
Some tiny adjustments now help Jemma on the field with her goal of becoming the best cricketer she can be. “Playing cricket isn’t the most ideal sport for someone like me, as one of the biggest triggers for MS symptoms is heat. I am fortunate to have a very supportive network at Qld Cricket as well as a wonderful supplier, Artic Heat, who’ve made ice vests in my team colours, which are designed to help manage my symptoms by keeping me cool on the field.”
You would think a young professional like Jemma has enough on her plate, but no! Jemma’s biggest dream ever since she was a kid, was to own a successful coffee shop. She now works as a barista at a Brisbane cafe and makes a mean cup of coffee. “I feel lucky to have not one but two jobs that I enjoy, and to be laying the foundation for a fulfilling life after cricket. The people around me are the real secret behind my success, and I’m grateful for them every single day.”
We couldn’t be more excited to announce Jemma as our new Ambassador, spreading the Kiss Goodbye to MS message by sharing her personal story. Jemma is a true gem who’s passionate about educating her community about MS and raising awareness for much needed MS research wherever she can, even in Bali! Make sure to check out her game face video from this year to find out what we’re talking about.
Welcome to the MS Squad Jemma, we are so happy and proud to have you on board!