MORNING tea is a way of life in regional Australia and can often unite locals over a variety of causes.
On Wednesday, the Gunnedah MS Club used the tradition of morning tea to bring the community together and raise awareness for multiple sclerosis (MS), a disease which directly impacts one-in-20 Australians.
Gunnedah MS Incorporated member Rhonda Smith told The Namoi Valley Independent the event was a way for the club to reach out to the local community.
“Well I guess the main reason for today’s event is to celebrate World MS Day and to give some information about a disease that people may not know much about,” Ms Smith said.
“We’ve had four guest speakers today including local doctor Chris Geddoes giving his perspective on the subject and a few locals who shared their experiences with it as well.”
The subject is close to Rhonda’s heart with her son currently living with MS.
“It has touched our family,” she said.
“My son was diagnosed about two-and-a-half-years ago and you don’t understand how it does affect the family and family life.
“That’s why it’s good to see so many people here, to help raise awareness and better understand it.”
The event included fundraising efforts throughout the morning with all proceeds going to help people dealing with MS within the community.
“We’ve had raffles, lucky door prizes and a trade table with all proceeds going to the local MS club,” Ms Smith said.
"All the money that’s raised at a function like this actually stays in Gunnedah so we can assist locals with things like purchasing wheelchairs, air conditioning and medication bills.
“We have had some financial help already with Whitehaven Coal coming on board and generously donating $500 which is just amazing.”
Ms Smith said anyone interested in supporting the club who may have missed the event is always welcome to do so.
“Anyone looking for more information about who we are or what we do can visit our Facebook page,” she said.
“Everyone is always quite welcome to attend any of our meetings or just approach one of our members who will happily answer any questions they have.”
This year’s World MS Day falls on May 31.
For more information or support regarding MS visit ms.org.au or call 1300 733 690.