Trishna Bharadia Inspirational Diva finalist, Divas of colour 2016



Trishna has become an inspirational and positive role model for women of colour and all men and women, particularly those with chronic health conditions and disabilities, through her work to raise awareness about and provide support for people with the neurodegenerative condition multiple sclerosis. She was diagnosed with MS herself in 2008 when she was aged just 28 and since then has worked tirelessly to support and help others with the condition, putting aside her own health issues in order to do so. She has focused extra effort on the Asian community, where disability is often hidden, MS is not well-understood and there is still a great deal of prejudice and stigma surrounding chronic conditions and disability.   

Trishna undertakes a huge amount of MS- and disability-related charity work, despite also holding down a full-time job as a translator and dealing with the health issues that her conditions pose. Her charity work is varied & spans a raft of organisations, including MS Society UK (for which she is an Ambassador), MS Trust, Sue Ryder (for which she is an Ambassador), Asian MS, MS-UK, Disability Horizons and the European MS Platform. Her appointments as Ambassador for the MS Society and Sue Ryder are directly as a result of the impact her charity work has had on the MS community and general public. She is currently the only female ambassador of the MS Society and the only Asian.


She speaks at public events about MS and disability (including being the chief guest speaker at a reception for MS Society volunteers hosted by Samantha Cameron at 10 Downing Street in September 2015).


She regularly writes for MS and disability awareness magazines, is the editor of and developed from scratch the Asian MS quarterly publication (created in 2011), blogs regularly for the MS Society and has written guest blogs for other MS and disability organisations (including MS Trust and Scope). Some of her writing can be found online here:


“Multiple Sclerosis: We need fair treatment across the world” (20th October 2014)

Asian MS quarterly newsletter:

“Thames challenge: walking 20km in 3 hours” (16th October 2014)

“My life of post-it notes: coping with fatigue” (7th April 2014)


She regularly speaks as an expert patient to pharmaceutical companies and speaks to the media (including printed and online press, and radio, both nationally and locally) about issues surrounding MS.


She directly fundraises for MS charities, gives motivational and inspirational talks about living positively with MS, is a member of the MS Society’s Research Network (which helps to steer the charity’s research strategy) and organises information events in local communities. She speaks at large international, national and local conferences about living positively with MS, disability and volunteering, has appeared in charity videos for volunteers and the newly diagnosed, has fronted a national fundraising campaign for the MS Society that raised over £150,000, and has been an important part of the MS Society’s volunteer recruitment campaign.


She has also developed a “Living Well with MS” course in conjunction with Sue Ryder, which ran at the Sue Ryder Nettlebed Hospice in autumn 2015. It was the first course of its kind to run at the hospice.


PUTTING A PUBLIC FACE TO MS: Trishna doesn’t shy away from putting a public face to MS, for which she has learned to overcome her own shyness. She puts herself in the public eye as someone who has MS, something that is lacking in the UK where there is virtually nobody in the public eye with the condition, let alone a woman of colour. This is important to Trishna as an Asian with MS because many Asians who have MS do not “go public” about it, for fear of stigmatisation. Trishna has been on national television as someone living positively with MS (she was chosen to take part in the first ever “The People’s Strictly for Comic Relief” on BBC1 as one of six people chosen out of over 11,000 nominations! It was broadcast in February/March 2015. She also appeared in a Sky News report for World MS Day 2015). She has been in poster campaigns and information videos and has spoken on radio shows and been in newspapers. She believes being open and public may help others to deal with their own diagnosis. She has particularly used the publicity surrounding her appearance on The People’s Strictly and her being named a Woman of the Year 2015 to continue to raise awareness about MS, as well as to inspire people with MS, with other chronic conditions and also the general public to be more active and positive in their lives.


IMPACT ON PEOPLE’S LIVES: Trishna is having a huge impact on the lives of people with MS, disabilities and other chronic conditions, as well as people who are in good health. Here are what some people have to say about her:


-“Trishna has participated in many of our public engagement events and preceptorships with bags of enthusiasm and always with a lovely smile on her face. She is a pleasure to work with and never seems to let anything get in her way. Her dedication and enthusiasm for Asian MS is astounding as she works to contribute to its success in helping others.”  -Neurology team at Bart’s and the London


“Today I tried a body combat class and managed it! Would never have if I hadn’t seen you [Trishna] on Strictly. I’m so pleased with myself!” –Someone with MS who messaged Trishna on Facebook after seeing her on Strictly.


“[…] I also wanted to say that you really are an inspiration. Not just to people who suffer from MS, but all women.” – someone who messaged Trishna on Facebook after reading an article about her


A lady wrote a blog about how The People’s Strictly inspired her, particularly Trishna’s story, and is here:

“I have to say though, that for me personally and given my personal circumstances Trishna and Cassidy were the biggest inspirations. Both faced adversity in the form of a medical condition which could have proven problematic to training and dancing and they dealt with the issues they faced admirably. This is particularly relevant to me because although I don’t intend to wax lyrically about my condition, I do have a medical condition which I have always thought would get in the way of my ability to dance, but nothing could have proven me more wrong than watching Trishna and Cassidy. […]

I want to take this opportunity to thank all of the contestants for taking part in the People’s Strictly, you made me realise that every day people can be heroes and that if you consider the bigger picture you can make a real difference and fight for the causes that really matter to you.”


“Dear Trishna, I just read your article in The Windsor. What an inspiring lady! I was just diagnosed [a few months ago] with relapsing remitting MS and I am endeavouring to take a similar positive approach. Reading stories like yours really does help!” – a lady who had read a cover story and profile piece about Trishna in the Windsor, Maidenhead & Ascot magazine.


OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENTS: All the charity work and awareness-raising that Trishna has undertaken has led her to receiving recognition and national, regional and local awards from various organisations. Awards include: MS Society Volunteer of the Year 2013; Windsor & Maidenhead Voluntary Action Volunteer of the Year 2013; Sue Ryder Southern Women of Achievement Award 2015; Woman of the Year 2015 from the Women of the Year Foundation; Manchester University Volunteer Awards, 2nd placed in the alumni category (if you’re placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd, the university makes a sizeable financial donation to your nominated charity). Her learned expertise in the area of MS and charity work has also seen her being asked to twice be on the judging panel for the annual MS Society Awards.


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