Latest News

Latest News

Anthony's story

8th May 2019

Anthony was diagnosed with MS just as he was preparing to tour Australia with his cover band, Keep The Change, as a tribute to Billy Joel. Now he is using his passion for music, and positive outlook to help raise the profile of multiple sclerosis across the nation.

For years leading up to his diagnosis, Anthony found himself losing his passion for music, as his body seemed to reject the idea of being out on stage, with dizziness and reactions to the heat of the stage lights. “I’d been in the game for 25 years or so, so I felt maybe my body’s just telling me that I’ve had enough. But that wasn’t really the case, it was just that something was happening to my body that was making me feel that way,” Anthony says.

It was while performing back in October 2016 that Anthony started to notice a warm sensation running down his left leg, as if he was standing next to a heater. Soon after, a minor fainting episode sparked doctors to take him in for the MRI that led to his diagnosis with MS.

Finally knowing what was wrong with his body; Anthony couldn’t help but feel relief but also curiosity about his future with MS. He began researching and talking to others with MS but was hit with a lot of negativity. “All I got was the doom and gloom side of it and I didn’t want to go down that path. I didn’t want to get any negative thoughts in my head…I just took the approach of being positive about it,” Anthony said.

A chat with an old friend who is living a positive life with MS, and the support from his family, has helped Anthony achieve the positive outlook he has today. He also attributes the management of MS symptoms to his positive mindset, a healthy diet including more fruits and vegetables, and effective medication.

“I think once I got that diagnosis and then took on a positive approach to MS, I started to find my passion for music again. Particularly with the Billy Joel tour…a different project has given me a spark to enjoy it again.”

Anthony’s passion for music and singing started when he was a kid, and continued when he started a band with his mates in his late teens. The band started booking gigs all around Adelaide, which soon expanded to all over Australia—and before they knew it, music was a full time career. Billy Joel was one of Anthony’s inspirations growing up as a singer and piano player, so the idea of doing a tribute to his idol had been on his mind throughout his journey as a musician.

His symptoms do still have an impact on his performance, and when Anthony saw the very full tour schedule, he wasn’t sure how he would manage his fatigue over months of travel and performing. But Anthony has adopted some positive strategies and used his positive mindset to help manage his symptoms on tour. He tries to have a fan next to him when possible and drinks plenty of water to combat the heat on stage.

“Particularly after performing it takes me a few days to get back up and motivated to push on for the next week. I have a guy that comes with me, and he does a lot of the setting up for me so I rest and relax during the day,” Anthony says.

He has also noticed a change in his nerves before a big show, and not the usual nerves other performers might experience. “I don’t feel like I can, but I know that I can. So I’m talking myself into a positive mind frame to say let’s just go out there and do it. After two or three songs I’m okay, it’s just the nerves that obviously react differently for someone that has MS compared to someone who doesn’t have MS.”

The band decided to use the profile of an arena tour to help raise more awareness and funds for MS around Australia, and encourage others to share their stories. “They all walk away thinking about multiple sclerosis and hopefully we’ve spread the word over the last 32 shows we’ve done this year,” Anthony says.

“I’ve now since found out that between five and 10 people that I’ve known for many years have got MS but they’ve never said anything…You don’t have to hide it—just come out. If everyone shares their story and shares their symptoms, how their treating it or how they’re dealing with it; I think that’s best for everyone.”

Part proceeds from the tour will be donated to MS research, in support of better treatments for people with MS, and a cure.

Not all of us can be rock stars like Anthony, but you might still need help managing your MS symptoms at home or in the workplace. Chat to our team about our services, symptom management options, and employment through MS Assist.

Back to News stories
Anthony's story