A Galashiels woman with multiple sclerosis (MS) has shared her story to show support for MS research in Scotland.

Kirsty Bennett, 31, works in finance and was diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS in 2009.

Today marks the beginning of MS Awareness Week.

MS Society Scotland are raising support for research that hopes to find a cure for the condition. Ms Bennett has praised the on-going studies in Scotland.

She said: “MS research is definitely in a good place and heading in the right direction.

“The progress, in terms of new disease modifying therapies and new results, definitely gives you a mental boost and some hope.

“My dad had MS and there has been a huge shift since he was living with the condition and it’s really important that that continues. There are more treatments for relapsing remitting MS and we are closer than ever before to reaching a breakthrough for the progressive forms of the condition.”

MS affects brain and spinal cord as the coating that protects the nerves (myelin) is damaged, which can cause a range of symptoms from tremors to fatigue.

Around 85 per cent of people with MS are initially diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS, which causes distinct relapses of symptoms that then partially or completely fade away.

Dr Anne Astier at the University of Edinburgh is positive about the progress made by medical research and the potential for further developments. She said: “MS is a very complicated condition with a number of factors determining whether you might get the condition.

“It is thought that one of those factors is vitamin D, which might play a role in why prevalence in Scotland is so high.”

Scotland registers one of the highest rates of MS in the world, with more than 11,000 people living with the condition.

Dr Astier believes her research, funded by the charity, into the role of vitamin D in MS could help develop better treatments with fewer side-effects, and she is optimistic about the progress being made.

She said: “We’ve come a long way in the past 25 to 30 years and I’m optimistic, as I think many people are, that we are getting ever close to stopping MS.”

Research topics in Scotland range from nerve regeneration to what causes fatigue in MS.

Ms Bennett added: “I take a special interest in the research going on in this country and further afield – I find that the more I know, the better I feel – so I’d like to say thanks to the research community for their hard work and dedication.

“Even if some of the research being produced is not directly about my type of MS it is good to hear about the progress being made.” MS Society currently funds 10 projects across Scotland, and 48 more in the rest of the UK.

Morna Simpkins, director of MS Society Scotland, said: “Finding more – and better – treatments for people with this often painful and exhausting condition is our priority as we continue to look for the breakthroughs that will one day produce a cure.”

More information about the charity can be found on the charity’s website.