WATCHING her mother battle with MS for the past 20 years has given Helen Wrixon more than enough reasons to raise money for research into the disease – and she is doing so by jumping out of a plane next month.

Helen was three when her mother Zena was diagnosed with the debilitating condition.

Growing up, Helen was her principal carer and has had to cope with household chores, personal care, practical and financial decisions as her mother’s condition steadily worsened.

Zena is only 52 but for the past four years has had to be cared for at a nursing home in Taunton.

Helen said: “I had to take a lot of responsibility growing up, I had to do a lot of caring, a lot of personal care, I had to manage her finances.

“I have had to manage the property and keep her as mentally and physically well as she can be, which is quite tricky because the MS took over and affected her brain and cognitive abilities to make decisions.”

Not only that but it changed her mum’s personality and that tore the family apart, said Helen.

“It can cause a big black cloud and that’s why I said it can tear families apart. Mum tried her best. My parents divorced at a young age as well.

“She did her best for somebody who was an only child. She lost her mum when she was young and her father got Alzheimer’s, so I think she did a reasonable job.

“I am not in prison, I have a very good job as a social worker, so there was no decision about who to raise money for and I want to raise awareness about how challenging it can be.

“Everybody with it is really different. A friend of my mum’s has been stable for the last seven years, whereas my mum’s situation has just deteriorated year on year.”

But research has already brought benefits to those diagnosed early and there are treatments that can slow the progress of the disease.

There is also more stem–cell research to try and reverse some of the debilitating symptoms.

Helen added: “The research is just so critical.

“There is too much scarring in mum’s nerves to be able to get anything fixed but they are looking into stem-cell replacement which would make a massive difference.”

Helen is nearly at her £350 target for the MS Society but wants to raise more before her skydive on August 10. She has been crafting and baking with friends at local events and car boots to raise the money.

Donations can be made to Helen’s justgivng page at Helen-Wrixon1.

An estimated 100,000 people have MS in the UK.