This past weekend is still a bit of a blur for me. The trip from home to the Dublin airport, plus the flight to London City Airport, plus a short transfer to my hotel near the ExCeL London convention center took most of Friday and left me quite exhausted. And that was just the travel for an event in which I was to participate over the next two days!
After a surprisingly decent night’s sleep, I rose and loaded my body with as much anti-fatigue medication as the prescription allowed and made my way to the event: Multiple Sclerosis Life 2016.
This biannual event took place across the hall from the 32nd annual congress of theEuropean Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS).
While the two events overlapped in time and space, one was for MS researchers from around the world, and the other was the largest gathering of people living with multiple sclerosis in Europe. Nearly 3,000 people living with Multiple Sclerosis and their families attended the two-day event.
‘Entertaining With Eggs’
One of the features — along with workshops on everything from keeping active and wheelchair dancing to the latest research on brain health and children’s activities — was the Multiple Sclerosis Kitchen. I was honored to be asked back this year to offer two cooking demonstrations for the gathered crowd of our Multiple Sclerosis brothers and sisters.
Many people with Multiple Sclerosis ask me about simple but pleasing dishes they might be able to manage when having someone over for a meal, so I called my first presentation “The Incredible Edible: Entertaining With Eggs,” and I showed brunch, lunch, and dinner dishes that all use eggs.
A Truly Inspiring Bunch of People
It was a good turnout, and we had good fun. More important, for me: I met a truly inspiring bunch of people.
First, I met Janis Winehouse-Collins, who also lives with Multiple Sclerosis. Janis and her partner cooked while being interviewed about the work they’ve done for young Multiple Sclerosis caregivers through the Amy Winehouse Foundation. Honestly, I wasn’t aware that Amy Winehouse’s mum has MS. She is a charming woman, and it was only after we’d spent an hour together that I was told she’s the mother of the famous singer.
I also had the chance to reconnect with a number of English people living with Multiple Sclerosis whom I’ve met in the past, including campaigner extraordinaire Shana Pezaro, and Strictly Come Dancing competitor (and the daughter of an amazing Indian cook)Trishna Bharadia.
James Coke: ‘The Disabled Chef’
Most of all, I really enjoyed meeting and working with James Coke, aka The Disabled Chef. James and I hit it off with our off-color chef’s humor (off-stage, of course), and I can’t wait to try some of the “accessible” recipes from his website.
It’s not often that I get the chance to tell stories with other disabled members of my former profession. I don’t get to meet many of them, and even fewer with Multiple Sclerosis.
I feel like a fast friendship developed in those couple of short, prescription-allowed days. Once I recover from the weekend, I plan to do some of that cooking. Methinks, however, that the recovery of my already weakened body may take weeks, not days.
Wishing you and your family the best of health.