A SCOTTISH designer who lives with multiple sclerosis (MS) will star in an exhibition at the UK Parliament this week. She is hoping to raise awareness about the need for investment in MS research so treatments can be found for everyone with the condition.

Kirsty Stevens, from Falkland in Fife, will feature alongside famous faces, including golfer Tony Johnstone and BBC journalist Caroline Wyatt, in the MS Society’s Multiple Sclerosis – The Research Story exhibition, which will be displayed in the Houses of Parliament’s Upper Waiting Hall from today until Thursday.

Each of those involved has provided a personal object which represents their life with MS, and is sharing their story in the hope MPs will pledge support for advancing MS research.

Stevens, 33, has chosen two objects highlighting the first design she created – a Fauna MRI silk scarf and Fauna MRI framed digital print – to represent what MS can do to the body.

Stevens said: “I was diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS when I’d just turned 22 and was studying jewellery and metal design at Art School in Dundee.

“Now I’m a self-employed designer with my own MS-inspired surface pattern design label, Charcot. I use the nasty lesion shapes of the damage caused by MS, taken from MRI scans of my brain, to design prints and patterns for screen prints, digital prints and luxurious silk collections.

“It’s a creative way to make MS visible and raise awareness with audiences that wouldn’t necessarily have a connection with MS.

“I chose these objects as they are from the first design I created to represent and engage with what MS can do to the body. I’m really proud to not only make MS visible, but make it wearable too!”

Stevens was diagnosed with the relapsing form of MS in 2007 after a year of symptoms including difficulty walking. She now experiences fatigue and spasms as well as numbness and tingling in the skin.

Three years after diagnosis, she started on a medication to reduce relapses and, although she still experiences other symptoms regularly, she has not had any major relapses since.

Stevens added: “My obvious hope for MS research would be to find a cure. It would mean the world to me if I had access to a treatment that could stop MS. It’s such an unpredictable condition. I don’t know what my future holds and this lack of clarity is one of the hardest parts of living with MS.

“I’m really excited about research into re-myelination treatment, which could restore the damage caused to the coating of the nerves [myelin] in the central nervous system and reverse the symptoms and disability that come with this devastating illness.”

Morna Simpkins, director of MS Society Scotland, said: “More than 11,000 people live with MS in Scotland and many of them are still without treatment options that slow or stop progression. But we are at a turning point in MS research and the UK is at the forefront of this. We are closer than ever before to having treatments for everyone with MS, and stopping MS for good.

“This exhibition shines a light on the realities of living with MS and, importantly, how we plan to stop it. We hope that the stories of people like Kirsty will encourage parliamentarians to recognise the need for investment in MS research, get involved, and join us in our fight to stop MS.”

To find out more about Stevens’s work visit her website: www.charcot.co.uk. To find out more about the MS Society, visit www.mssociety.org.uk