Did you see the BBC report the other day about how antiretrovirals normally used to treat HIV had enabled a woman with Multiple Sclerosis to walk. The drugs had a dramatic effect:

Shana Pezaro, 36, from Hove, East Sussex, was given antiretroviral drugs after fearing she may have contracted HIV.

Within days, Miss Pezaro noticed an easing of her MS symptoms.

When a doctor saw her walking up stairs after years of using a wheelchair he set up a clinical trial.

Multiple sclerosis is an incurable condition that can lead to sight loss, pain, fatigue and disability. It affects around 100,000 people in the UK.

Miss Pezaro was a dancer and piano teacher before being diagnosed with MS at the age of 28. The condition affected her hands and feet and she used a wheelchair.

If you thought you recognised Shana, you’d have been right. She has made some fantastic speeches at Liberal Democrat Conferences outlining the practical effects of the welfare reforms enacted by the Coalition on people.

She made a video blog from the Birmingham Conference in 2011 which you can see here:

She did a written blog for the Brighton Conference the following year.

She wrote:

A debate on “Equal Citizenship – Supporting Independence for Sick and Disabled People” looked at the impact of the Welfare Reform Act.

You never know until the debate starts whether you will be called to speak or not… but I was, live on the BBC! I spoke about flaws with PIP, why lessons must be learned from the disastrously implemented Work Capability Assessments (WCA) and the impact of timelimiting contributory ESA.

At the end of the debate the party voted against further cuts to welfare which affect people with illnesses or disabilities. We now have to ensure the Lib Dem ministers stick to this, but I think they will…

Then Danni and I attended an event about carers in relation to the future of social care. I explained to Steve Webb MP (a minister in the Department for Work and Pensions) that there’s a barrier to me forming a long term relationship, because the reality is that if we lived together my partner would be means tested, and have to pay towards some or all of my care. I would become financially and physically dependent on them. He said he didn’t know what to say, and didn’t want to sound glib with any response.

Debates on social care so often focus on families with elderly relatives or disabled children. I wanted to keep the voice of the working age adult heard and bring issues that are not even considered into the public domain.

This is a very positive step forward for Shana and she has our very best wishes. More research is now taking place to determine whether this could help others.