A man diagnosed with multiple sclerosis is pounding the parks and pavements with his dog to raise money for the MS-UK charity.

Steve Thomas, a 62-year-old from Romford, was told he had primary progressive multiple sclerosis in his 50s.

But that isn’t stopping him joining the charity’s annual Big Purple Dog Walk with purple bandanas.

Nacho, his 18-month-old Golden Doodle, is putting paws to the pavement to help Steve complete his walking challenge all through March.

“Staying on my feet will be the biggest challenge,” Steve admits. “Nacho is a boisterous 'teenage' dog at the best of times.”

Steve’s MS has resulted in a steady decline in his mobility. 

“Being told I had MS hit me like a sledgehammer,” Steve recalls. “My walking ability is severely affected by fatigue and spasticity on my left side.

“The distance I can walk without assistance is just room to room indoors. Outdoors, I rely on my walking stick and mobility scooter.”

Walking Nacho around parks during March is a challenge, but Steve thinks it will mean benefits like exercise and fresh air, as well as raising public awareness of MS-UK.

“The charity supports people to live their lives with MS, whatever their journeys bring,” he adds. “I’m showing that we can do more than we think if we put our mind to it.”

The Big Purple Dog Walk encourages dog owners to get outside and exercise more — just set the activity for the month and off you go.

The #TeamPaws team raised £10,655 last year, enough for MS UK to run its national helpline for a month, giving people with multiple sclerosis information and support. 

Anyone who signs up online at ms-uk.org/big-purple-dog-walk and sets up a fundraising page gets a dog bandana after their first donation. Three lucky pooches also win their own personalised gourmet treat jars, courtesy of Sir Woofchester’s doggie treats.

MS affects the central nervous system, the brain and spinal cord. There is currently no cure.

Symptoms may include fatigue, pain, sensory problems such as vision, cognition difficulties and issues with bodily functions like speech, swallowing or bladder and bowel control.