In January, Papa John’s began giving their customers the chance to donate their digital pennies to a rare and important cause. Since the start of the year, more than £7,000 has already been raised in support of Multiple System Atrophy Trust, the UK’s leading charity supporting people affected by multiple system atrophy.

A neurological disorder, multiple system atrophy (MSA) is caused by degeneration or atrophy of nerve cells in several areas of the brain, and can result in problems with multiple bodily functions. The MSA Trust aims to support each person affected by MSA throughout their journey, while also working towards a world free of the disorder.

Donations from Papa John’s customers can support the charity’s core work, including the support and advocacy services that make such a difference for people like Kim and her family.

Kim and Ian’s story
When Kim Whittaker’s husband Ian began to show symptoms of MSA, she found it almost impossible to get the help she needed. MSA is a rare condition, about which so much is still unknown, and this made it difficult for Ian to receive an initial diagnosis through local hospitals and doctors.

Having struggled to find the right support through traditional means, it was a huge relief when Ian was referred to the National Neurology Hospital, where he received his diagnosis. It was here that Kim and Ian were also introduced to MSA Specialist nurse, Samantha, whose support was invaluable to both of them, as Kim shared:

“Samantha was just excellent in giving caring, honest advice… When there was a problem, she would speak to the consultants for us and we felt that she would always make time and listen. During this awful journey, her knowledge was vast… She was an angel and the only one who knew and understood what was going on [and] didn’t make us feel like we were lost.”

Ian Whittaker, Multiple System Atrophy Trust impact story

Kim also explained how MSA Trust Support Groups helped them discover new physiotherapy options for Ian, and further widened their network of support:

“The Support Groups were very good, informative and helpful and it was here where we found out about the Giger physio machine from Benfleet Physiotherapy. Ian did his “marathon” on this machine to raise funds for MSA Trust. Nigel, the owner of this machine, was also very caring and gave his time and use of this equipment for free.”

Since sharing her story, Kim’s husband Ian has sadly passed away, but their story reveals just how many obstacles people face when diagnosed with a rare condition like MSA.

Your pennies help make sure that the MSA Trust is able to provide the support people like Kim and Ian so desperately needed, from their specialist MSA Nurse Service to their Support Groups across the UK and Ireland. With rare conditions like MSA, your contributions really are the difference between families being left in the dark or receiving the support they need.

With the causes of MSA still unclear, research is crucial to improving the experience of people affected by MSA. £40 could pay for an hour of research to understand the symptoms of MSA and to learn whether the disease has any genetic links. Papa John’s customers can raise this in just a few hours through Pennies, proof that your micro-donations are truly powerful and can add up to mean big things.

To find out more about MSA Trust and the work your donations helps support, visit www.msatrust.org.uk

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