An inspirational charity volunteer has reached the finals of the prestigious MS Society Awards.
Rani Kaur, 45, from Thornton Lodge was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) 13 years ago.
Now she has been shortlisted as one of three finalists for ‘MS Volunteer of the Year’ for work boosting awareness in the Asian community.
MS is a neurological condition which has a range of symptom, including fatigue, vision problems and difficulty walking.
Rani said when she was diagnosed she didn’t know anyone else who had the condition and her MS nurse didn’t know any other Asians in her local authority with MS.
Rani found a lot of people in the Asian community were in the dark about the condition and had struggled to speak to their families about it.
She set up a Facebook group called Asian MS and now has over 200 followers.
She was contacted by the MS Society four years ago and asked to join the Asian MS committee and alongside her Asian MS Facebook group, she now runs the official Facebook and Twitter account for the MS Society Asian MS group.
Now she will be attending a glitzy awards ceremony hosted by Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills in London on Monday, October 6.
One of her nominators, Boy Chana, said: “Rani has been a great ambassador for the MS Society, not just in North England where she lives but across the UK.
“The challenge was that in the Asian community there was no explanation and no awareness of MS; either around the symptoms or the pressures on families and the anxieties of the person with MS.
“Thanks to Rani she has bridged the gap and brushed away the stigma of what used to be an ‘invisible’ condition and made it visible to all by creating awareness of the condition.
“She has held talks with community leaders, spoken to the elderly in the Asian communities to help them understand MS and spoken to young people at local places of worship and given them guidance and reassurance.
“She has also taken campaigns arranged by the MS Society to the communities who do not get reached by mainstream marketing and arranged for people to talk in mother tongue languages at events and fundraisers.”
Speaking of her nomination, Rani said: “I saw the email and started jumping up and down. At first I couldn’t believe it; it didn’t sink in that I was a finalist. I feel a bit stunned really. This means so much to me and I’m really looking forward to the Awards.”
Michelle Mitchell, Chief Executive of the MS Society, said: “The purpose of the MS Society Awards is to celebrate the hard work of people like Rani. Her dedication to volunteering for the MS Society, and making a difference to other people living with MS, makes her a very deserving finalist for the ‘MS Volunteer of the Year’ award and we look forward to welcoming her to our awards ceremony in October.”
For more information about the MS Society visit www.mssociety.org.uk .