11 December 2019 | North East England
Inspirational MS sufferer who now wants to help others
Meet the TSB partner who came back fighting after being struck down with a serious disease and now just wants to help others.
Dom Lavelle, a Customer Service Team Manager at the Sunderland Contact Centre, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis aged 22. He’d just become a father and the diagnosis came as a huge shock to Dom and fiancee Kayleigh.
To the admiration of colleagues, he carried on working as a customer service manager at TSB in Sunderland even while having a form of chemotherapy.
Dom was treated with a course of a medicine called Lemtrada at the Sunderland Royal Hospital, which works to reset the immune system. After two courses, 12 months apart, his health started to improve. “After the second treatment, I felt my life turn around and I had a renewed vigour and energy,” recalls Dom, now 31. “Mentally the whole has process has been tough as I didn’t know anything about the condition.”
Determined to help others like him, the now father-of-two wants to give back. This September he ran the North Run, asking people to sponsor him so he could raise funds for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. He gave himself the apt name ‘MS Warrior’ and raised over £1,000.
“I also created an Instagram page to try and inspire and motivate others who had the condition. I wanted to show them to keep up hope and that they could carry on with their lives.
“Within weeks I had hundreds of new followers. I think my message must have got through. I just want to show people that life doesn’t have to end just because you have this diagnosis.”
Now his courage is being recognised after he was first nominated and went on to win a Pride of TSB Award.
Jacqui Wilkinson, a senior manager at TSB Sunderland, said: “Even having two years worth of chemo didn't stop Dom working or being a vital part of our migration team by re-writing training support packs while he was in hospital.
“He is an inspiration to all who meet him in and outside of work. His close work with our local Hospital and MS charity has changed his life and made him feel life is for living.”
And Dom said: “I thought this was the perfect opportunity to raise awareness about Multiple sclerosis which is an unpredictable and incurable condition that affects people's nervous systems.
“I feel the Multiple Sclerosis Society can contribute to make people’s life a little more comfortable and continue to work on finding a cure. I also feel it is really important to raise awareness as it’s a relatively unknown condition - so people who have been newly diagnosed don’t know what they are facing. Thankfully I have received many different treatments to keep the condition under control.”
Dom, who is now planning further feats including the London Landmarks half-marathon in March, added: “I want to give something back as I am currently feeling the best I have felt since my diagnosis. Not only that but I want to make my sons Owen and Leon, 4, proud.”
To support Dom go to his instagram page @mrmswarrior.