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John's breaking new ground

24th August 2018

John Agostini was diagnosed with MS when he was only 26, after losing his eye sight while away on a business trip. 25 years later, his condition has progressed but he is keeping things positive, and trying out new and exciting technology which is giving him new found independence.

With a career in retail, it was one work day that John noticed something a little different. He was chasing a shoplifter, and had managed to catch him when he realised his legs felt quite tight. It wasn’t until he went away to Melbourne on a business trip and woke up one morning blind in one eye, that he realised it was something more.

“Trying to get past that mentally was hard. There are problems that arise and something new happens every day. It wasn’t easy and it took me a long time, but now I am truly happy with myself, my carers and in my life,” John says.

Since his diagnosis, John’s MS has progressed with a decline in his mobility, speech and eyesight. But John has never been one to shy away from a challenge, and has recently been given access to a wide range of assistive technology.

John now has a computer wherever he goes which allows him to make phone calls, and read text aloud when he is having trouble speaking or his eyesight makes it difficult to read. He is also able to open his automatic front door, turn the lights on and off, and turn on electronics with just the press of a button. His favourite part though, is keeping up to date with Game of Thrones now that he has a big screen TV to accommodate his vision needs.

Disability Care Worker, Nicki Ashenden says, “What sets John apart from some other clients I have is that he is really open to trying new things, like the technology. If there’s something a little bit wrong with his chair he never hesitates to go and get it sorted. Some people are worried about trying new things, but he isn’t worried about that.”

After years of living with MS, and experiencing the grief that comes along with diagnosis in those early stages, John wants to share his experiences and wisdom with others also living with MS to help them through their journey.

“When I was a boy I was told when you have something to lose, the best thing to do is run at it. Devote your whole self. Go at it full force. And that’s the same with MS,” John says.

“There are many good things about having MS. For the first time in my life, I really like who I am. The only way to get through this is with the help of your friends and family. Remember to keep your loved ones close.”

MS Society SA/NT Client Services Manager Kate Mason says, “John’s optimism and approach to life is infectious to anyone who comes into contact with him. His determination and openness to seek opportunities to remain independent enables him to live well, and has fostered a positive and long term working relationship with the MS Society.”

If your MS symptoms impact your day-to-day living like John’s, contact our client services team through MS Assist for advice on your options.

MS Assist
1800 812 311
msassist@ms.asn.au.

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John's breaking new ground