Show Your Support for MS!

Show Your Support for MS

Melbourne Sports Centres MSAC is proud to be hosting Team MSAC in their support for the Melbourne MS 24 Hour Mega Swim event on May 4th & 5th! Team MSAC is made up of MSAC’s Lap Club members who will tag team to swim for 24 hours straight to raise money for MS and people living with multiple sclerosis.

The team is organised and championed by Laurent, who has been a member of Melbourne Sports Centres MSAC for over 15 years and swimming in our MSAC Lap Club twice a week as part of his routine. Laurent has 2 friends with MS, including neighbour, Philippa, so he was inspired to do what he could to raise money for this worthwhile cause. 

We took a brief moment to catch up with Laurent and his inspiration and neighbour, Philippa, who lives with MS. Here's what they had to say. 

Meet Laurent Rossignol:

Laurent, father of 2, moved from France to South Melbourne 16 years ago. He works for the Victorian government on a project aiming to reduce the number of lives lost on our roads. "MSAC is like a 2nd home for our family. Both our children went all the way through swim school and we still come multiple times a week to do gym, Pilates and, of course, to use the swimming pool."

Originally a long distance runner – he has completed 13 marathons - Laurent has progressively added cycling and running to his activities to reduce injuries. He joined the MSAC lap-club swimming group about 10 years ago. He has since participated in many ocean swims and triathlons. His latest interest is trail running, with a preference for multi-day ones.

"I had a ski accident in Europe in my mid-thirties and was lucky not to loose the use of my legs. Since then, I have never taken my health for granted and am very happy to raise money for people with health issues."

How long have you been swimming, Laurent? 

I learnt to swim as a child but only took on swimming seriously about 15 years ago. I started with stroke correction at MSAC at the same time as my children were at swim school. I love being part of the MSAC lap-club, a fantastic group of people from all walks of life and of different ages and swimming abilities. We train twice a week and sometimes do more swimming together outside of those times.

Do you think you’ll find the 24 Hour Mega Swim challenging? 

We have to have one swimmer in the pool at any given time for 24 hours. As we have a strong contingent of 16 MSAC lap-club swimmers registered, this is only 1.5 hours each, which should not be too difficult. The main challenge will be the overnight shifts, from around 11.00pm until 5.00am.

What will keep you motivated and inspired to keep going? 

Knowing that this swim will raise funds for MS and awareness about this condition, and all the generous donors who have backed us all!

What inspired you to fundraise for this worthwhile cause? 

I have 2 friends, including my neighbour Philippa, who have MS, so giving a bit of my time to help is the least I can do.

How much are you hoping to raise and what do you hope MS are able to achieve with the funds collected by all those involved? 

We are aiming to raise $5,000. We have just passed the $2,000 mark with 3 weeks to go. I know that staff at MS will use the funds where it is most needed. I hope they will be used towards finding a cure, and helping my friends remain fun-loving, healthy and happy people


Meet Philippa Jelbart:

Philippa was diagnosed in 2000 at the age of 30 with relapsing-remitting MS. Since 2002, Philippa has worked in a not-for-profit art gallery and theatre in the city, where she is the venue manager and administrator. "I'm not as physically active as I used to be (my sport of choice was rowing) but I attend Pilates classes once or twice a week and work with a physiotherapist on exercises to help with my balance, core strength and overall fitness." 

Philippa is a devoted foster carer for a cat rescue group and gets a lot of joy helping abandoned kittens and cats find permanent loving homes.

How does it feel to have your neighbours show their support for those living with MS? 

It's honestly very touching and encouraging, it gives you a big boost and also inspiration in what can sometimes be an isolating experience. I feel extraordinarily fortunate to live in a street with such kind and friendly neighbours. 

What advice would you give to those who have been diagnosed with MS? 

Don't underestimate the amount of support that can come from a wide variety of places and people. I'd also suggest that you don't disappear down the rabbit hole of the Google search - there is so much out there that it could be overwhelming, especially if you dwell on the scary stuff! Trust your specialists, and do what makes you feel happy and good about yourself. 

What do you hope for the future of MS research? 

 Obviously we all hope that there will be a cure found. In the time since I was diagnosed, a huge number of new treatments have become available which is wonderful. The most freeing was when I could stop self-injecting medication three times a week because a new, daily oral medication became available on the PBS. Without the research, including clinical trials, this wouldn't happen. I'm participating in research studies also in the hope that my response to my treatments can assist.


You can show your support for MS and donate to Team MSAC who will be swimming over the weekend of 4th - 5th May.