Friday, 4 October 2019 - 2:48pm



THANK YOU – simple, but important words that were certainly heard many times on Wednesday! These words echoed throughout Government House at the annual invitation to a Thank You Morning Tea hosted by Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner AC and Mr Richard Warner.  Her Excellency spoke so warmly in welcoming our guests on what was a glorious Hobart morning.

Every single person who attends any one of our events, or makes a donation to support our work is important to our community - they all contribute to the health and wellbeing of Tasmanians.  You, the community following us and interacting with our social media, YOU are also important.  Awareness is vital.  Thank you too!

Today we heard from Vivienne.  WOW.  Vivienne bravely, but so powerfully, shared with our guests her personal experience of the disease Multiple Sclerosis (MS).  She shared the highs, the lows, and everything in between.  Diagnosed in her early 30s, when her young daughter had not yet started kindergarten, as you can imagine, the world as she knew it was turned upside down.  Vivienne  has lived with the challenges and uncertainties of MS for over 20 years.  We will be sharing more over the coming months about the important research being funded by the RHHRF, noting that MS is particularly prevalent in Tasmania, more so than any other state.  Here’s a snippet of what Vivienne had to say:

“I have a positive outlook for the future, knowing that the support and investment made by the Tasmanian community into MS research will help to reveal the cause of MS and make prevention and cure a future reality. Research has already come such a long way since my journey begun.  My story is a different one to what I envisaged 25 years ago, not a better one, not a worse one, just a different one.”

This was an ideal segue to Dr Kimberley Pitman, who continued the story by explaining to our guests the intended outcomes of research that she and her team are currently undertaking through a $450,000 grant from the RHHRF.

“MS is an autoimmune disease, a condition where the body’s immune cells attack the insulating cells of the central nervous system, causing them to die.  Currently we don’t know why this happens and so we don’t have a cure.  While we don’t understand what causes this disease, we do know that a person’s DNA can influence their chances of developing MS. ”  Dr Pitman went on to liken DNA to a “recipe book” where the recipes are seen as “genes”. To try and identify genes that are important for MS, Dr Pitman’s research team is studying the genes in families with multiple cases of MS, as these families are likely to have specific genes that greatly increase the chance of developing MS.

You can find out more about Dr Pitman’s research and many other important research studies HERE!