International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate the achievements of women, and work towards a better gender balance in society.
As the by line implies, I’m not a woman. But I have a mum, sisters, a wife and a daughter. I love and am thankful for the women in my life. And I’m grateful that my daughter will be able to choose her own path, and follow her heart’s desires.
Spare a thought this International Women’s Day for those women who battle on, even when life dishes out a lousy hand. Did you know that 75% of people diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis are female? This is one area where women are leading men, and it’s not a good thing.
Ursula Lockwood is a Brisbane mum who was diagnosed with MS in 2002. At the age of 26, and only a year after giving birth to her son, Ursula had to give up her career and face an uncertain future. “I was scared because there wasn’t much information out there”.
“You would see pictures of people in wheel chairs so it was very scary with a young child and as a young family”.
Ursula’s treatment meant that she was no longer able to have children – “if I wanted to go on the medication, I wouldn’t be able to have more children, so that was a big decision to make”. As well as caring for her son post diagnosis, she found fulfillment volunteering for non-profits, including MS Queensland, as well as fitness and strength training.
“Exercise, training and diet all contribute to you living a fulfilled life with MS”.
Ursula has also been a keen cyclist for many years, not only raising money for MS Queensland through their annual Brissie to the Bay ride, but with overseas trips as well.
“I did a 480km bike ride in Cambodia. As well as raising money I also get physically fit with all the training”.
This year Ursula will be taking on the 10km Brissie to the Bay ride, decked out in pink and flanked by her support group ‘Team Flamingo’. Ursula says “Brissie to the Bay isn’t just for the lycra wearing clubs, it’s a bit of fun for us all. We raise a lot of money every year, and it’s so important to have the support of the community”.
The MS Brissie to the Bay ride is in it’s 29th year in 2019, with the ride taking place on Sunday, June 16th. From humble beginnings the ride is now a highlight of the Brisbane cycling scene, with 5,500 riders expected to leave from Musgrave Park in South Brisbane. With four distances of 10, 25, 50 and 100kms, there’s a course for riders of all abilities. For more info on the ride go to www.brissietothebay.com.au