Ashley Bengell

betsie gauche
The “Tree-Hugging Bohemian”
September 1, 2015
antoinette travis
Johan Travis and his sheep dog, Kaira
September 1, 2015

Ashley Bengell

ashley bengell

Ashley Bengell was a mere 22 years old when he first experienced the crazy symptoms which would lead to his multiple sclerosis diagnosis. His first contact with the society a couple of years ago grew into a special friendship. I interviewed Ashley on a crisp early winter’s morning in preparation of the Bicycle Tour through SA 2014.

 

  • Have you ever in retrospect experienced any symptoms before diagnosis which could be regarded as early MS symptoms?
    • It came to me as a surprise, that’s why I took it so hard. I wasn’t prepared at all.
    • I got married on the 2nd of May 2009 to my lovely wife, who was doing her 3rd year at the University of Free State.
    • Her name is Ingrid but I call her ‘Inkie’.  We are blessed with two (2) children. The oldest is a boy named Timothy who is 2 years old now. Gabriella is our little girl and she is turning 1 in July 2013.
  • Have you investigated whether there might have been MS in your family’s history?
    • Yes I did some investigation and the result is that I made history because there is no one else with MS in our family except me.
  • What did you do to find out what MS actually is after being diagnosed?
    • I was very fortunate to have doctors around me who explained every little detail to me. Plus Dr Mike Pretorius who has MS gave me valuable information about the types of MS and about MS itself.
  • How did your parents treat you after diagnosis? Any different than before diagnosis?
    • My parents treated me differently in the sense that they wanted to protect me from hurting myself. I remember when I fell (and I fell a lot of times) they would have a fit. I realized afterwards that it was just because they were concerned about me.
    • They own a driving school in Cape Town.
    • In total we are four children. Two brothers and two sisters, my sister Ashna is the oldest (32), then me (30), then Adrian (23) and the youngest is Abi-lee who is turning 18 this year.
  • What is your physical situation at the moment in terms of mobility and symptoms.
    • At this moment I consider myself blessed. Although I’m not very mobile at times, I’m thankful for what I have achieved so far. My co-ordination didn’t recover fully so I struggle with running. Especially in winter, my leg muscles are stiff. As I walk it becomes more oiled and walking becomes easier for me.
  • What was the hardest for you to come to terms with after diagnosis?
    • The hardest thing I had to accept was the change My biggest fear was the unknown.
  • How did it change your life – from before and after diagnosis?
    • How it (MS) changed my life? It showed me: We live by grace, we as humans take life sometimes for granted. A small example is that we think to wake up in the mornings is a must, but once you experience life in a bad way you start to see all is by grace.
  • Do you lead a normal life? What is a normal life to you and your family?
    • Yes I do live a normal life to some extent. After that I tell myself: “Life is great, live it”.  Life does not owe us anything.  One determines to your own extent what is normal or not.  i go to work every day like a normal person,
    • I eat, drink and sleep like a normal person. The difference is that I have more challenges than others.

WHY DO I DO WHAT I DO?

At the end of May, beginning June, on a Wednesday in 2005, I was helping my dad with some painting work which he was doing. As we were busy, I started to experience a blurry vision through my left eye. I told my dad about it to which he replied: “Ashley you should go to the doctor.” As a man, I had that pride and did not want to see a doctor, but believe me all that pride went away as soon as I lost most of my vision in my left eye the Friday as I was driving home.

My mother had to take me to hospital. There the doctors looked at my eye and could not figure out what was happening to me. After some time they referred me to the eye specialist at Pasteur hospital. There they did some tests but said they can’t see anything wrong with my eye. They said it is best if I go for a CT scan (brain scan) to determine what the problem might be. By then I lost most of the feeling in right side of my body. I remember how I had to lean on my mom for some form of support to prevent me from falling over.

After the CT scan the doctors were still not sure what the problem was. It looked like one of the veins in my brain had burst. They thought that the vein was formed weak at birth that is why this occurred.

In November that same year it happened again but this time it was bad. The whole right side of my body went partially lame and my speech was also badly affected.

My dad’s friend, Dr. Stallenberg, came to our house and said that I should spend the night at his house which I did. The following morning we went to Universitas Hospital. Here a Dr. G. de Waal consulted me and did some tests. After a few days the results of the tests came back and they diagnosed me with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). I did not know what caused this disease or where it came from and least of all, why it happened to me.

This is why I do what I do!

Was it not for my family, friends and people that I didn’t even know rendering support I don’t know what would have happened to me.

I was helped by others and now it’s my turn to help others in need.

It has become a long road to recovery but their support is making it a lot easier.

Interviewer Non Smit MS Society.

I, Ashley Ed Bengell, was diagnosed with MS in 2005. During hospitalization the same year, I met a patient (and there are so many of them amongst us!) who couldn’t afford the medication any more… I realized that it’s people like them that needs our support – financially as well as emotionally.

With the help of my friends and we are seven, decided to do a fundraising/awareness in March 2014. The plan is to cycle from Bloemfontein to Cape Town from Monday, the 4th to Friday the 8th of March 2014. This will result in ± 200 km per day.

As ‘n highlight, we plan do to the Argus on the Sunday, the 10th of March 2014.

What we need: 2x Bicycles (other five members do have bicycles), bicycle-spares, support vehicle, a support team, energy drinks, overnight accommodation and food.

We have the confidence to ask if you could find it in your heart to sponsor us towards this outreach. Anything you see fit to donate would be warmly appreciated.

If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact Ashley Bengell or Jaco Wessels.

A.E. BENGELL
Cell: 078 720 9284
ashleybengell@gmail.com
Jaco Wessels
Cell: 072 691 1994
jaconofear@vodamail.co.za
Banking details:
(Deposit slip to be faxed to 0866 914 277)
Reference number: Tour de MS
MSSA Western Cape
Standard Bank
Account number: 073084697
Branch code: 050-410

WHY DO I DO WHAT I DO?

At the end of May, beginning June, on a Wednesday in 2005, I was helping my dad with some painting work which he was doing. As we were busy, I started to experience a blurry vision through my left eye. I told my dad about it to which he replied: “Ashley you should go to the doctor.” As a man, I had that pride and did not want to see a doctor, but believe me all that pride went away as soon as I lost most of my vision in my left eye the Friday as I was driving home.

My mother had to take me to hospital. There the doctors looked at my eye and could not figure out what was happening to me. After some time they referred me to the eye specialist at Pasteur hospital. There they did some tests but said they can’t see anything wrong with my eye. They said it is best if I go for a CT scan (brain scan) to determine what the problem might be. By then I lost most of the feeling in right side of my body. I remember how I had to lean on my mom for some form of support to prevent me from falling over.

After the CT scan the doctors were still not sure what the problem was. It looked like one of the veins in my brain had burst. They thought that the vein was formed weak at birth that is why this occurred.

In November that same year it happened again but this time it was bad. The whole right side of my body went partially lame and my speech was also badly affected.

My dad’s friend, Dr. Stallenberg, came to our house and said that I should spend the night at his house which I did. The following morning we went to Universitas Hospital. Here a Dr. G. de Waal consulted me and did some tests. After a few days the results of the tests came back and they diagnosed me with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). I did not know what caused this disease or where it came from and least of all, why it happened to me.

This is why I do what I do!

Was it not for my family, friends and people that I didn’t even know who rendered support for me I don’t know what would have happened to me.

I was helped by others and now it’s my turn to help others in need.

It was going to be a long recovery time for me but their support is making it a lot easier.

Facebook