Amanda Papalia's story
Amanda Papalia (nee Ruggiero) has been busy gearing up for her second Shadforth Financial Group Step Up for MSWA experience. Having competed for the first-time in 2016, the 29-year-old says she's ready to get back into it.
Amanda said, "I was a little nervous of all of the stairs last time but there really is no pressure. I went at my own pace and it was really fun and I just loved it.
"The atmosphere is amazing, and it feels good raising money for people who really need it. I've got a whole group together this year and we're going to make a day of it."
Fundraising for a cause is nothing new to Amanda. Together with her sisters-in-laws, Amanda has been running the Ruggiero Foundation since 2015.
In just over a year, they have held quiz nights, high teas and breakfasts all to raise money for people living with multiple sclerosis (MS).
MS is a cause close to the Ruggiero's hearts. Amanda's dad passed away from MS related complications in 1996 and since then, Amanda and her two brothers have received their own MS diagnosis.
Amanda was recently engaged and in the midst of moving into her brand new home when she experienced her first multiple sclerosis symptom.
Whilst watching a movie, Amanda noticed she had blurred vision in one eye, Amanda was told to go for an MRI where the neurologist confirmed her suspicions. That was seven years ago.
Amanda said, "The biggest emotion was fear. I was really young and really scared. I didnt know what was going to happen and I still don't know what's going to happen.
"The unpredictability of the condition is what is most frightening."
Amanda has since gone on medication and accesses services such as peer support, nursing and physiotherapy at MSWA. In fact, it was at a physiotherapy session that she was first inspired to start fundraising for the Society.
"During one of my sessions, I noticed that some of the equipment had been donated and I just thught it was such a great idea. We have a really big family and community around us and we thought we could make a difference for people who needed it most.
"Even though being diagnosed was such a scary experience, I hope to show people that you can still live your life and achieve your dreams despite MS. It may be a little bit harder, but MS is not going to stop you from accomplishing your goals."
One of Amanda's biggest concerns after reciving her diagnosis was if she would be able to have children. Having a family had long been a dream and she didnt want MS to take that away from her.
Today Amanda has three beautiful young children and is getting her oldest daughter, five-year-old Allegra, involved in fundraising.
"I am so grateful to have had my children and every night I go to bed and hope that i can wake up to be well enough to be there for them. It's my dream to see them grow up and be as active of a mum as I can be.
"This year, Allegra will be participating in the children's event. She hears me talking about fundraising all the time and is eager to get involved. I want to show her as well what we do when we fundraise and the difference it makes to people.
"I hope we continue to raise as much as we can for people living with MS to make theirs lives much easier. A cure is my ultimate dream."
Join Amanda at the 2017 Shadforth Financial Group Step Up for MSWA and help her make a difference to the lives of people living with MS and other neurological conditions.