An IT support engineer from Peckham is being featured in an online photography exhibition celebrating the achievements of people living with multiple sclerosis (MS), writes Simon Throssell…
Ramiro Rivas was twenty years old when he was diagnosed with MS, a neurological condition that affects approximately 130,000 people in the UK and is diagnosed in almost 7,000 people each year.
After his diagnosis, he suffered a bad relapse and was in bed unable to walk for eight months afterwards. Trying to get around his house and grabbing onto the walls to move around was a huge weight for him.
Being a practical person by nature, he didn’t let this stop him completely and he began to think of new ways to improve himself.
“I thought about ways of overcoming it [the MS] in terms of ‘Okay, I need to do more exercise, I need to eat this or I need to do other things in order to help myself.’
“I always tell myself: ‘Put your mind to it, you’ll do it.’ And I hope to build my career and not let the MS hold me back.”
Like many young professionals, Ramiro was furloughed from his job repairing IT computer systems and applications. He has found lockdown to be very different as he would usually be doing something outside rather than spending time at home.
He ventures outside for walks in the morning when he knows he’ll be able to keep his distance from people. He has also enjoyed reading and watching documentaries.
“I still do everything that most people say you [a person with MS] shouldn’t be doing. And I still do it because I don’t see MS as a restriction.
“I don’t want it to be, ‘because I’ve got MS I can’t do this’.”
With the future of his job uncertain, Ramiro has been searching for new opportunities and is trying to remain his usual positive self through this challenging time.
“Never let yourself be held back by anything.
“A shock in your leg, or shock in your hand, the twitch in your eye, or a twitch in your mouth or your face going droopy. Just accept it and move on.
“That’s how I found it, because ‘More to uS’ – as in: this happened to me and I carried on.”
The More to uS exhibition features photos and stories of nine people living with MS and their extraordinary and everyday achievements. Each interview celebrates how they have overcome the challenges the condition brings in order to accomplish their personal goals.
Visit www.livinglikeyou.co.uk to view the whole exhibition and for practical advice on how to spot and communicate changes in symptoms.