"I was diagnosed in 2003 and like many people just thought ‘this can’t be happening to me,’" says six-time European Tour winner Tony Johnstone.
"I couldn’t remember my kids' names, I was tired all the time and had zero coordination. I had trouble getting food into my mouth without taking out an eye, so it really seemed like golf was over for me. But not long after that I was put in touch with a neurologist in London, who told me about a drugs trial that had just one spot left. I was so lucky because that trial changed my life, and allowed me to play golf again.
“I’ve had no further episodes and got back a lot of what I lost – enough to go on and pay the seniors tour. It’s been truly miraculous, but now I have an appreciation for what others are going through and want to help where I can. The MS Society do so much for people living with multiple sclerosis, including research into the condition, and I just felt I’d like to give something back.”
Tony is among a number of celebrities auctioning once-in-a-lifetime experiences to support people living with multiple sclerosis during the coronavirus pandemic.
Items on offer in the MS Society Never Alone auction include:
– A virtual song-writing or jam session with singer Emeli Sandé
– A beginner’s writing masterclass with author Jacqueline Wilson
– A personal make-up tutorial with YouTuber Nic Haste
– A cookery lesson with Dave Myers from The Hairy Bikers
– A conversation with Sky Sports presenter and former golfer Tony Johnstone about his career/golf in general
– A conversation with former chairman of the Financial Times Sir David Bell
– A signed personalised copy of explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes’ latest book
– A signed copy of chef Tom Kerridge’s latest book
"With 35 years tour experience I’ve got a wealth of stories and funny tales," says Tony, who now presents on Sky Sports. "And I have a fair idea what I’m talking about when it comes to golf as well! So for anyone who’s a keen golfer, I think I’ll have a few pearls of wisdom – and it should be a lot of fun.”
A message from Nick Moberly, Chief Executive at the MS Society
"More than 130,000 people live with MS in the UK and many of them are really struggling right now. In the last two months we’ve seen demand for our services increase, and our community is relying on us more than ever.
“We’re incredibly grateful to all the celebrities who’ve generously offered time and donations to this auction, and hope people will bid generously. The money raised from the event will help us provide better support to people living with MS, through things like our free MS helpline, which could truly give someone the lifeline they need to cope at this difficult time.”
The MS Society Never Alone auction is running from Monday 8 June - Wednesday 17 June.
To bid on the chance to speak with Tony – or any of the other items on offer – visit www.msneveraloneauction.com. The auction will go live on Monday 8 June at 10am, and proceeds raised from the event will go towards helping people living with MS.