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Romford entrepreneur part of national campaign celebrating achievements of people who live with MS

PUBLISHED: 13:15 27 August 2020 | UPDATED: 16:01 27 August 2020

Becky works from home making notebooks, which she repurposes from scratch. The 40-year-old has always had a love for crafts, and has made this business her sole focus since 2017. Picture: Hannah Laycock

Becky works from home making notebooks, which she repurposes from scratch. The 40-year-old has always had a love for crafts, and has made this business her sole focus since 2017. Picture: Hannah Laycock

©Hannah Laycock

Growing up, most people hope to make their passion their life’s work.

Becky Wash is part of the national More to uS campaign that celebrates the achievements of people living with multiple sclerosis. The Romford-resident has had her own crafts business since 2011. Picture: Hannah LaycockBecky Wash is part of the national More to uS campaign that celebrates the achievements of people living with multiple sclerosis. The Romford-resident has had her own crafts business since 2011. Picture: Hannah Laycock

By turning her creativity into a career, Romford’s Becky Wash wakes up everyday to do the thing that she loves.

The successful entrepreneur — and proud owner of notebook crafting business Retro from Scratch — also happens to have multiple sclerosis (MS).

She is part of a national campaign which aims to celebrate the individual achievements of people living with the condition.

For 40-year-old Becky, the positivity of the More to uS campaign — developed by Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Limited — is key.

In the 11 years since her diagnosis, Becky has never allowed her MS to define her, something she believes this campaign represents: “Most days I forget I have MS. That’s the reason I really loved this campaign, it focuses on the positives, and on what people can achieve.”

The entrepreneur is keen to emphasise how much she has learned through being involved: “They’ve got this website called Living Like You, which I have learned so much from; things I didn’t even know despite being diagnosed in 2009.”

Becky Wash being interviewed as part of her involvement with the national More to Us campaign. Picture: Alex RumfordBecky Wash being interviewed as part of her involvement with the national More to Us campaign. Picture: Alex Rumford

The campaign’s messaging says the aim of Becky’s story — and eight others — is to “redefine the perception and the conversation around MS progression”.

And that is why Becky is so proud to be a part of it.

In a full-time job at the time of her diagnosis in 2009, the looming threat of redundancy spurred Becky on to create her own “back-up plan” business.

Though she remained in employment, 2011 saw that back-up plan become Retro from Scratch.

Borne out of a long-standing interest in crafting driven by her parents, Becky started making notebooks from recycled and repurposed vintage books. She explains her process: “I remove the original pages and replace them with notebook pages, and I design all the artwork inside. I print and bind them myself as well so, from start to finish, it’s all me.”

This all takes place in her Romford home, and until 2017, happened alongside being in full-time work.

Since then, Becky has chosen to focus solely on her business, something which has paid dividends as it continues to grow.

She aims to create ten books a day, though this varies.

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It’s a physical job, and Becky doesn’t shy away from the fact that her MS can influence how she works.

But it’s simply something to adapt to, she said: “I keep my own notebook where I write everything down. It helps me learn the patterns and how

my body is working.

“I have two dogs, so they make sure I get out and walk more than once a day. I take regular breaks when I feel like it, and not having to travel also makes a big difference.”

Though admirably bullish about her MS, Becky admitted there were times when she was afraid, though this eased when she got some answers: “It was scary before the diagnosis. You want a reason why this is happening to you.

“I lost my sight in my right eye and that’s quite frightening — it’s not until something goes that you realise how life was before.

“I was really pleased to get a diagnosis; I knew what was wrong with me. I didn’t feel sad or anything like that, I just thought, ‘okay, I can move on now’.”

This pragmatic attitude is no accident.

Though mostly down to Becky’s incredible spirit, the businesswoman is clear that nothing that has happened since would be possible without husband Jamie.

The pair had been together for four years when Becky was diagnosed, after which she pulled no punches with her husband-to-be: “I remember asking him ‘do you still want to marry me?’.”

He did, and they did, one month later.

Eleven years on and Becky remains full of admiration for her husband, laughing “he puts up with me!”.

Becky is a woman who lives firmly in the present, with her “take every day as it comes” mantra applicable to both her business and her MS.

The 40-year-old chooses not to think about what could happen with her condition, preferring to focus on the here and now: “My approach is ‘what can I do to make my future better?’.”

And that attitude is exactly why she has been chosen to take part in the More to uS campaign.

For further information on the initiative, visit this link.

To see Becky’s work, visit here or @retrofromscratch on instagram.


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