Wazoku – a crowdsourcing company based in West London – has named the MS Society as their first ever charity partner.
The partnership aims to empower the MS Society’s work to support everyone with multiple sclerosis (MS), and will kick off at Wazoku’s annual Christmas ‘Kuathon’ – a 48-hour hackathon – at their headquarters in North Acton from 12-13 December.
Going forward, the charity will be collaborating with Wazoku – using their cloud-based idea management software and diverse range of expertise – to harness creativity and innovation within their organisation.
Holly Christie, Corporate Fundraising Manager at the MS Society, said: “We are delighted to be entering such a promising partnership with Wazoku. Collaborative relationships like these are crucial in helping us support people affected by MS to live full and rewarding lives.
“It will be great to see what innovative ideas come out of this year’s Kuathon, and we’re really looking forward to exploring new ways of putting innovation at the heart what we do to support more than 100,000 people living with MS.”
The relationship was inspired by Wazoku’s Chief Operating Officer Jon Landau who has lived with the condition for more than 13 years. He first started experiencing strange symptoms in 2003 while working a conference in Frankfurt.
He says: “My feet were painful and numb, like blocks of ice. Initially, I put it down to being tired and cold, but when the numbness spread to my body and legs I knew I had to visit my GP. He told me he was concerned I had MS – but at that time, I didn’t even know what MS was, let alone how it might affect me.
“When I was diagnosed, my neurologist reassured me that he knew plenty of people with MS, still working in their 40’s. But, it sounded like they were the exception; I couldn’t help but think of those who had to leave jobs they loved because of the condition. My first year with MS was dreadful and very frightening. Thankfully, my condition has stabilised and despite still
having two to three relapses a year, I’ve been fortunate to stay fit enough to continue doing what I love.”
More than 100,000 people live with MS in the UK. MS attacks the nervous system. It’s unpredictable and different for everyone. People typically start experiencing symptoms in their 20s or 30s. It’s often painful and exhausting and can cause problems with how we walk, move, see, think and feel.
Jon says his MS has made him consider the future of work, not just for himself but also within his industry: “Building a supportive and flexible business culture at Wazoku has always been an important thing for me. I have a condition with big capital letters, but everyone has something. Everyone has days where something goes wrong and they need a bit of help from their employer.”
He adds: “A flexible workplace is how I’ve been able to continue working effectively in a senior management position, and it’s also why were so keen to support the MS Society. They’re doing some brilliant work through their MS: Enough campaign to ensure people with MS who can work have the right support to do so.” Find more information about MS or the MS Society at www.mssociety.co.uk. The MS Society also has a free helpline – 0808 800 8000.