MULTIPLE sclerosis can affect everyone differently.

It is a cruel and unforgiving condition that can, in some cases, paralyse a person from head-to-toe.

While for other sufferers, considered to be the lucky ones, they can live a relatively normal life with only minor numbness in limbs.

More than 100,000 people in the UK have MS and while there is no cure, continuous efforts are being made to improve the lives of those who have to live with the condition.

Over the last 30 years, the Swindon Therapy Centre for MS has dedicated its time to making the lives of sufferers that little bit easier and thanks to their unique oxygen treatment, many are able to breathe a sigh of relief thanks to its unorthodox healing powers.

Now, the charity has received a well-earned financial boost in the form of a £1,500 cheque from the Swindon Charity Ball to be put towards the continuation of their vital treatment.

Symptoms of MS usually start in your 20s and 30s and it affects almost three times as many women as men.

The main symptoms include fatigue, difficulty walking, vision problems, such as blurred vision, problems controlling the bladder, numbness or tingling in different parts of the body, muscle stiffness and spasms, problems with balance and co-ordination and problems with thinking, learning and planning.

Depending on your type of MS, symptoms can get progressively worse over time – a sad case for Geoff Hardy’s son Alan who died six years after initial diagnosis.

The 71-year-old visited the therapy centre with Alan before his death, prompting him to volunteer his time to help others.

“As operators we know this oxygen treatment does work because we see it in people,” Geoff said.

“We know it is not a cure but we have seen such a change in adults but also children and even babies.

“We try to create a nice friendly atmosphere here and this place helped me and Alan so it is great they’ve been given money.”

Adrian Newman, 62 lives in Chiseldon and has been going to the centre for the last 12 years. He was first diagnosed with MS over 30 years ago.

“I hadn’t heard of the treatment before I came here and now it is a weekly thing for me,” he said.

“The oxygen therapy helps with fatigue which is a very big part of MS.

“It can be really difficult to describe to people because it is not like you want to go to bed or go to sleep but it is like being exhausted and you just can’t move. Everything just feels heavy.

“I find that the oxygen therapy lightens my mood as well.

“As well as using the chamber, there is a social benefit of coming here as well.

“Because of your lack of mobility, you can get stuck at home a lot of the time but coming here, you get to catch up with people.”

Founded by Jackie Wray in 1981, the charity has gone from strength-to-strength over the years, acquiring a two person oxygen chamber just two years later.

It now boasts enough room for 12 people to undergo the treatment at any one time.

It was in 2008 that the centre soon started treating other conditions, such as strokes, Parkinson’s disease, as well as children with cerebral palsy, autism and brain injuries – all of which can benefit from the use of oxygen therapy.

“We are delighted to have the cheque from the Charity Ball and we can’t say thank you enough,” said centre manager Louise Walker.

“The chamber itself, we need to have it serviced and it needs to be kept up-to-date which of course costs money.

“We pay for the masks and the tubes which is expensive and so the money will go a long way.

“Because the oxygen treatment is not medical, it means that people are taking a lot of medication can still use it as an added therapy.

“It can benefit a lot of people and not just those suffering with MS but people with other neurological conditions and those suffering from fatigue and tiredness.”

The High Dosage Oxygen Therapy (HDOT) involves breathing pure oxygen at a pressure of between 1.5 and 2.0 BAR (equivalent to 16 to 33 feet of water).

Normally, when we breathe in air, 21 per cent is oxygen; the remainder is composed of nitrogen and other gases.

Research has found oxygen is a great natural healing agent and when breathed in at increased pressure, for MS sufferers, swelling around nerve tissues reduces and blood vessels constrict – allowing repair to take place.