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Press release

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Art ForMS exhibition at the Royal Devon and Exeter Foundation Trust


The Royal Devon and Exeter is launching an exhibition today, Monday 4 July, showcasing the talents of South West artists affected by Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Patients, staff and visitors at the at the RD&E Wonford hospital will be able to see the works on display in the corridors of the Wonford site and in the courtyard gardens between now and November.


Many of the artworks have been produced by those living with MS who have had to overcome the particular challenges of their condition, for example many experience tremors or problems with eye sight.


Artist Kirsten Elswood said: “I was diagnosed with MS in 2008 after I lost sensation from my chest down. My neurologist and MS Clinical Specialist Nurse were fantastic and really helped me through the initial period of coming to terms with my illness.  It was through talking with my specialists that I learnt that many people with MS enjoy, and find therapy, through art.  


“We decided that an exhibition would really showcase the talents of these artists.  Organising this became a positive focus in my life and I realised how important art is to me, to the extent that I enrolled on a Fine Art Degree last September.  


“I find that art gives me a release, it has a cathartic effect because I lose myself completely in my work.  MS can be limiting, but it has given me the impetus to focus only on what I really enjoy.  I hope that the exhibition will raise awareness of the condition, but also show those suffering from Multiple Sclerosis that diagnosis is not the end, and can also be a beginning.”


RD&E MS Clinical Specialist Nurse, Gail Hayes, said: “This exhibition is a great opportunity to celebrate the talents of these amazing artists whilst as the same time raising awareness about MS.


“This condition can affect an individual’s self esteem and confidence. Art, for some, can be a way of regaining an element of control over a part of their life. A creative outlet can also help sufferers cope with the emotional stress of dealing with their condition. ”


MS is the most common non-traumatic neurological condition in young adults in the UK, affecting around 100,000 people. The illness affects the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), which controls the body's actions and activities, such as movement and balance.

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