Friendship makes the world a little smaller!
Sally from the UK, pictured on the left, met a very special friend, Pam, through the Jooly's Joint webpal service. Pam lives in Australia.
The pair exchanged emails over many months. Then in 2005, Sally and her husband took the trip of a lifetime.
Sally picks up the story...
"About five years ago I was contacted by a girl called Pam, who lives in Brisbane, Australia. We are both Jooly's Joint fans, both have MS, and had both added our names to the Jooly's Joint Webpal list in the hope of meeting new people.
"We hit it off immediately, and soon were writing to each other almost daily. Our families remain amazed at how we can write two or three pages this frequently. I think we surprised ourselves, but our emails are far more like telephone conversations, than just 'news'. Our emails have helped us both to feel less alone. Everyone's MS experience of MS is different, but we soon found that we both have common experiences with it.
"In March 2005, my husband Gerry and I went to Australia for a holiday. This little excursion was only booked a matter of six weeks before departure. Gerry is quite anxious about travelling so far when my MS is pretty unpredictable, but I was feeling in good spirits and there were lots of places to see and things I wanted to do before this wonderful condition made it impossible.
"It was a wonderful experience. We got to see kangaroos in the wild, and got up close and personal with koalas at a sanctuary. Sydney is a beautiful city and Brisbane was even better. The Blue Mountains were spectacular. As for my MS, I was surprised how much better I felt, and how much less of a problem my symptoms were in the warmer, drier climate.
"The highlight of my two weeks 'down under' was spending a few days with my JJ webpal Pam and her husband Warren.
" We met their family when Pam laid on a traditional Aussie 'barbie' for us all. They were wonderful hosts and gave us a guided tour of Brisbane and the surrounding countryside.
"In March 2006, Pam and Lauren (Pam's daughter) came to the UK during a six-week tour of Europe. We spent another four wonderful days together. Pam met my children and grandchildren. Two of our days together were spent in London before Pam and Lauren headed off to France and then Italy. Pam's trip was another dream fulfilled with the help of bucket loads of willpower and determination.
"Pam is now back home. When we parted we both promised that this would not be the last time we spent together. We have helped each other through bad times with positivity and encouragement, and we've laughed together at the good times.
"I feel I have known Pam all of my life and there is possibly no one else who knows me as well as she does. Gerry and I are planning to get back to Australia, perhaps in 2007 (health permitting). The long journey might be a challenge, but it's worth it!
"Thank you Jooly's Joint!"