The Trish Foundation is very honoured and extremely grateful to Jen Willis who is travelling on a 51-day expedition to the Himalayas where she will summit Mera Peak (6476 metres) and then the spectacular and technical mountain, Ama Dablam (6812 metres), raising funds for the Trish MS Research Foundation, MS Australia and the Forum for the Welfare of Himalayan Children.
In Jen’s words: “I’m 50 years old, a single mum to three wonderful humans, I have Multiple Sclerosis and I’m dedicated to helping the over 2 million people living with MS worldwide by fundraising for MS research, while also raising funds to support underprivileged children in the Himalayas.”
Since Jen was a little girl, she has dreamed of becoming a mountaineer, and in 2008 when a neurologist first mentioned she may have MS, she decided that one day she would climb her mountain to raise awareness around MS and fundraise to help those living with it. In 2018 she was officially diagnosed and started on a medication to hopefully prevent disease progression, however in early 2021 her MS started progressing despite this.
Jen’s neurologist advised that if she were to do nothing new, she would likely be in a wheelchair within three or four years. Jen realised then that she simply had to do all she could to pursue her dream and so at the end of 2021 she left her job as Principal of a small alternative primary school to embark on the journey of a lifetime. Jen is an inspiration to everyone around her and has meticulously trained her mind and body to prepare to climb Ama Dablam.
“I have started a new medication, and my MS is currently stable – hooray!! At the moment, I am living well with MS. I do experience fatigue, dizziness and sensory symptoms such as burning sensations on my tongue and toes, and can face some cognitive challenges, however, overall I am fit and healthy and enjoying life!” Jen says.
“My MS is not curable and over time is likely to continue to progress, leading to increasing physical and cognitive challenges, and research into how to try and stop, cure and even prevent this illness is crucial for myself and others to be able to enjoy a rich quality of life,” Jen continues.
Jen and her Mum Kerry travelled from Melbourne to attend the Trish MS Glitz & Glamour Ball. A truly uplifting part of the evening was the very well-deserved ovation given to Jen in the Ballroom, demonstrating the monumental task she is undertaking.
The Trish Foundation is incredibly honoured that Jen has chosen to dedicate the funds raised for part of her mammoth and challenging climb to the Foundation. Her phenomenal, exceptional support is giving our funds for our MS Research Projects a significant boost, for which we could never thank Jen enough.
Jen has now launched another fundraising initiative, “Geelong Cats – flying high in the Himalayas!” with all the funds raised going to the Trish MS Research Foundation. You don’t have to be a Geelong supporter to donate! Donations from Swans fans and other AFL fans are very welcome.
You truly are an inspiration Jen! THANK YOU.