Cookstown couple welcome research into Progressive MS

Progressive MS sufferer Denis Charles with his wife Esme
Progressive MS sufferer Denis Charles with his wife Esme

A Cookstown woman, whose husband was diagnosed with the progressive form of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) 40 years ago, has welcomed the largest ever global effort to find an effective treatment for the condition.

Esme Charles has been caring for her husband Denis since he developed the disease and although “he has battled bravely”, she said it has had a big impact on their lives.

But sadly, Denis is just one of around 2,000 people in Northern Ireland living with this more aggressive, progressive form of MS - where symptoms gradually worsen and there are currently no medicines that can slow or stop the accumulation of disability.

The MS Society is calling on local people to support its ‘Brighter Future Appeal’ which is raising money to fund world-class MS research that will bring new scientific breakthroughs and could lead to the development of new treatments.

The Progressive MS Alliance is one such initiative giving hope to Esme and Denis.

This global research collaboration has brought together MS charities and leading scientists from around the world with a single ambitious aim – to end progressive MS and will fund over £17.5m of research over the next five years.

Speaking about how the disease has affected her’s and her husband’s life, Esme explained: “My husband Denis was diagnosed with MS 40 years ago. He has battled bravely since then but sadly MS has had a big impact on our lives.

“MS is an intruder in our lives – it has robbed Denis of his mobility and independence and sadly there are no effective treatments for progressive MS.

“Denis and I have strongly supported the MS Society’s research and we would like to encourage people to donate generously so that a treatment or cure can be found to prevent others from experiencing the devastating effects of MS.”

Patricia Gordon, NI Director at MS Society added: “We know that many people with MS are anxious about the future and desperately want treatments that can slow, stop or reverse the effects of MS progression.

“This amazingly ambitious project will bring together expertise from around the world and help us to build a better understanding of progressive MS so more treatments can be found.”

Visit: for details. MS Society’s Mid Ulster Branch also supports local people on 07856 097917 or