James: I’m really looking forward to the unique opportunity to meet and talk to the leading HSCT physicians of the world. To be able to listen to them speak in person , and hear about the latest breakthroughs, as well as everything HSCT, will be amazing. I’m really looking forward to meeting up socially and swapping stories with my fellow MS and HSCT warriors.
Following my own successful HSCT in London in 2016, I co-founded AIMS in 2017 and we received registered charity status the following year. I consider myself incredibly lucky to be offered HSCT on the NHS as it effectively gave me my life back. As a result of this, I wanted to pay it forward. So many people are unaware that HSCT is even an option, so to be able to give them all the information they need to decide if they want to pursue HSCT, can be life changing for them. I just wanted give others the chance to be as lucky as I have been.
Becky: For me, ensuring people with MS have access to accurate knowledge about treatments that are available to them to allow them to make their own decisions about their care path is something I’m really looking forward to about the AIMS 5th birthday summit. In addition, the bringing together of those with different experiences of MS and HSCT is empowering and important.
As a young woman with very aggressive MS, my life was turned upside down and I felt alone and desperate. I discovered HSCT through a Facebook group and met Alison and Mindy. Both of those incredible ladies informed me and supported me to access HSCT. I got my life back and will forever be grateful. Im a trustee to help others feel less alone and supported.
Alison: I’m really looking forward to bringing together so many inspiring people in the field of MS for the first time. Many of our speakers are flying in especially to be with us, which really shows how committed they are to getting this message out there - to patients and practitioners alike.
I co-founded AIMS after James had a bone marrow transplant in 2016 - we realised that there was an absence of accurate information about HSCT, and that patients desperately needed that. At that time, much less was known about HSCT here in the UK, and it’s possible that there are many patients that it would have helped who just didn’t know about it. AIMS strives to provide a bridge between the patient and the specialist and I’m really proud of what our little band of volunteers has achieved in 5 years - it’s definitely cause for celebration. Our personal philosophy has always been that if life knocks you down you shouldn’t just give up, however tempting it might be. When James was diagnosed with MS in 2011, we became volunteers on the committee of our local MS Society. This provided us with a lot of support and information, and it really helped us knowing we were helping other people with MS. AIMS has allowed us to continue that journey, with a focus on HSCT.