The May 50K participant Kate Roberts at Smith Park, Hamilton, with her dog Nitro. Photo: Peter Stoop

Kate Roberts has a new lease of life.

After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) following her 30th birthday, the Hunter resident endured years of difficult treatment until she finally started to turn a corner.

“That’s when I saw an advertisement for The May 50K,” Kate says.

A virtual fitness and fundraising challenge that is highly interactive, The May 50K can be completed on your own anywhere in Australia, with minimal risk to others – even in the comfort of your own home, backyard, or local park.

Kate was the highest fundraiser in the inaugural event in 2019, amassing more than $21,000.

“Being able to walk just over 150 kilometres in the month of May last year was really awesome,” she says.

“The great thing about The May 50K is that it suits everybody – you can walk it, run it, roll it, do it with your fur baby or family, or make a community thing out of it, if the restrictions are taken off a bit by the end of May.”

Funds raised from the event will aid life-changing medical research to support the 25,600 Australians living with multiple sclerosis.

The condition is the result of damage to the myelin – a protective sheath surrounding nerve fibres of the central nervous system.

When myelin is damaged, this interferes with messages between the brain and other parts of the body.

Kate’s symptoms first started when she was on the trip of a lifetime in 2013.

“I woke up and couldn’t feel the right-hand side of my face,” she says.

“It was the last week of my holidays when I was in Hawaii and I continued holidaying, but the sensation then travelled down the right side of my body.”

After numerous relapses, Kate is now on a more aggressive form of treatment, which has made a real difference.

She will now complete The May 50K by walking around her local oval with her trusty sidekick, Nitro.

This year’s nationwide campaign has already raised more than $3 million towards better treatments, prevention and, ultimately, a cure.

According to MS Research Australia, the average age of diagnosis with MS is 30, while three out of four Australians with MS are women.

Visit The May 50K’s website for more information or to donate.