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Ben advocating for change

Ben Alliss hasn’t cut his hair in six years, so with the support of family and friends, he decided to cut it all off to help raise funds on behalf of his mother, who is living with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Ben is only 23-years-old but is already an advocate for change. His mother Melanie Alliss was diagnosed with MS in 2011 and since then, he’s been her biggest supporter.

“I was only 16 at the time of my mum’s diagnosis, I was confused and scared as I wasn’t familiar with the condition, or what it would mean for our family. Knowing so little made it far scarier than I later realised. It wasn’t until I had the chance to do some research and learn about the condition through the help of MSWA nurses, that I started feeling a little better,” said Ben.

After consulting with MSWA, Melanie was able to manage her symptoms of numbness of her right foot, nerve pain, heat intolerance and fatigue and make some lifestyle changes including changing her diet which had a positive impact not only for herself, but also her family.

“Mum makes sure she doesn’t overdo it and sometimes has to say no to things. She’s developed a good gauge for when she needs a break, which most people understand,” added Ben.

Over time, Melanie has accessed nursing support and allied health services including physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, massage, and occupational therapy which helps keep her mobile.

After going six years without cutting his hair, Ben saw the constant jokes and comments as an opportunity to educate the community and raise some much-needed funds.

“I thought it was finally time for a change and it felt right to see if people would donate for a cause of my choice. My family, girlfriend and the Hamersley Carine Amateur Football Club all supported me by helping to organise the night, donating, and just being there for me,” said Ben.

Ben’s fundraising goal was $1,500 which he far exceeded, raising $10,441 with over $3,000 being raised on the night of the chop.

“I hope that by cutting my hair I’ve inspired others to become long-lasting supporters of people living with neurological conditions. I know the money is invested into services and support, neurological research and building new facilities which my mum benefits from. I hope that one day, we will find a cause and cure for MS,” Ben said.

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