A selection of Chairboys stars stepped off the training ground and into a completely different environment last week, paying a visit to the Chilterns MS Centre in Wendover which houses the oxygen chamber regularly used by players in their recovery from injury.
Wanderers first teamed up with the charity two years ago, facilitating its awareness and fundraising initiatives and also making use of the chamber, which has helped to accelerate the recovery from injury of a number of players. Oxygen treatment also helps to combat fatigue, which is one of the major symptoms of multiple sclerois.
The players received a short classroom lesson about the benefits of oxygen treatment, plus an induction on what to expect inside the chamber, and a tour of the various gym facilities which are available to visitors to the centre.
Blues midfielder Dominic Gape said: “The Chilterns MS Centre is something a little bit different for footballers, who don’t usually get the opportunity to benefit from facilities like these, and it’s a really nice environment to come into.
“Oxygen is a magnificent healer when it comes to injuries, and I think it’s really benefitted me during the sessions that I’ve spent here. Everyone is super friendly and welcoming, and it’s great to be able to get to know the other visitors and learn how the Centre has been a help to them.”
The Centre supports people with multiple sclerosis (MS) from across Buckinghamshire and neighbouring counties. The independent charity has 550 members with MS, 330 of whom visit for treatments and therapies weekly. A diagnosis of MS affects the whole family, so the Centre also supports their husbands, wives, partners, parents and children.
MS is an unpredictable, often disabling disease that causes a range of symptoms including difficulties with walking, balance, impaired vision and bladder problems. Living with MS can be tough; although there is no known cause of cure for MS, many symptoms can be treated with physio, hydro, oxygen, complementary and occupational therapies.
The Centre helps its members gain greater control over their MS so they can lead happy and healthy lives. This type of long term support is not available on the NHS. 1 in 600 people in the UK being affected by MS, there are potentially another 450 people within travelling distance of Wendover that they could help – many of whom will live in Wycombe – who may not know their support is available to them.
Although it costs the charity £1m to meet the needs of the local MS community, it receives less than 10% of its funding from the NHS so as well as reaching out to new members, corporate supporters, volunteers and fundraisers are also key.