Jeff's story

Jeff Ibbotson

"Hi, I’m Jeff Ibbotson and I’m an MSWA Customer living with a rare neurological condition known as Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP).”

“We still don’t know how CIDP will affect me long term, which is stressful, but I try and remain positive and optimistic about my future.”

Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP) is a rare neurological condition of the peripheral nervous system involving gradual weakness and loss of sensation, predominately in the arms and legs. It currently has no known cause or cure.

Jeff Ibbotson’s life with CIDP began in 2014, at the age of 30. At the time, Jeff was a competitive surf lifesaver, married with a young family and volunteered at his local Police and Community Youth Centre. He was also running his own business as a locksmith.

After fighting two consecutive chest infections, feeling run down and stressed, Jeff started experiencing pins and needles in his hands and feet, and a loss of balance. An appointment with a neurologist confirmed the condition, and this was the beginning of his journey with CIDP.

“Both the neurologist and I were surprised by the diagnosis due to its rarity; 1.5 in a million are affected globally. I was relieved that it wasn’t life threatening but worried because the path ahead wasn’t clear,” said Jeff.

Reaching out to MSWA and learning about services he could access through an NDIS planning meeting gave hope to Jeff and his family. He began accessing physiotherapy and occupational therapy at MSWA’s Services Centre in Wilson and domestic support at home to help with the cooking and cleaning.

“Since connecting with MSWA, I feel less alone and it’s great to be part of a community again. Life with a neurological condition can be really hard on friendships, you find out who your true friends are,” Jeff said.

Symptoms that affect him now are fatigue, anxiety, and loss of mobility in his hands and feet. This has meant ending his career as a locksmith and struggling to take part in simple things like driving and running around with his children.

“We still don’t know how CIDP will affect me long term, which is stressful, but I try and remain positive and optimistic about my future. MSWA has been a big part of this and their services and support has helped maintain my daily functioning. They also invest in neurological research which is a comfort to me as there is still so much we don’t know about this condition.”

Jeff recently returned to the workforce, with a career change into the disability sector, and he overcomes daily challenges with the help of his family and friends.

“We’ve explained to our children that some of my wires are broken which causes my body to not work as well anymore, which they seem to understand. My daughter, aged 8, and my son, aged 6, are the reason I remain positive and continue to enjoy this new version of my life.”

“I hope my journey with CIDP will inspire them to be resilient and teach them to appreciate life and all that comes their way.”


If you'd like to find out how MSWA can support people living with a neurological condition, call us on
1300 097 989 or fill in the below form.