Mary McKiernan post run with her dog Judi last Sunday morning. She ran a half marathon to raise awareness of Multiple Sclerosis on national MS Day.

'I wasn't really aware of MS until it landed on my door'

Mary completes half marathon with someone special in her mind on National MS Day

By Gemma Good

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) was something Kilnavara woman Mary McKiernan knew nothing about until her daughter, Ciara, was diagnosed with the condition three years ago, just days before her 18th birthday.

“I wasn’t really aware of MS until it landed on my own doorstep,” Mary said.

MS is a lifelong condition that affects the spinal cord and the brain.

Mary said the first symptom Ciara noticed was a “numbness in the leg sometimes and tingling” but said they “didn’t think anything of it".

Ciara was diagnosed with MS in May 2018 and has been living with the condition since. Mary reported that she is “in good form at the moment".

On what was one of the warmest days of the year so far, Mary was up and out bright and early at 7am and ran a half marathon to raise awareness for the condition.

The day was symbolic as May 30 marked National MS Day.

“I just put the head up on Sunday morning, I said I’m going out and doing it and nothing's going to stop me.”

Mary ran the 21.1 kilometres around Cavan Town.

“I had Ciara in mind... I was doing it for her and the rest of the people.”

Determined to raise awareness of MS, Mary is known for her participation in various fundraisers such as the Dublin City Marathon and abseiling in Croke Park.

“I do it in good faith and I put in my best effort,” said Mary of her fundraising.

“Charities appreciate every euro you can give.”

Mary said she did not publicly fundraise this year as she thought it would be unfair to ask for donations with so many people not working due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

She is hopeful for the future and is looking forward to the days when she can “put out her little bucket” again to raise much-needed funds for the condition.

“Definitely next year I’ll be back full whack at it again... I wear my heart on my sleeve for MS and I just do my best,” Mary concluded.