DEAN VS MS: The Ladies What Lunch Event
What do you get when you put 250 ladies in a room with topless rugby stars and alcohol? A hell of a lot of money for the MS Society – that’s what.
Thanks to Dean Reilly, owner of Dean Vs MS and organiser of the Ladies What Lunch event at the Capital Hotel in Corstrophine on the 7th May, thousands of pounds have been raised to help people who suffer with a truly debilitating disease. Dean himself, one of my best friends for over five years, suffers with multiple sclerosis and yesterday I was given a glimpse into just how awful the disease is.
Dean was diagnosed with MS when he started to develop problems with his eyes just short of five years ago. I remember sitting with him on the bus as he went in to get checked out. His optician had warned him that the problem he was experiencing was linked to multiple sclerosis. At the time, we both thought there was a very small chance that would be why he was having problems seeing, but sadly it was confirmed that he had a condition that is truly life changing.
I think that Dean’s diagnosis is the best and worst thing that has happened to him. I have seen him transform in many ways but the courage and determination he has shown has made a real impact. He decided at that moment to not let the disease beat him. He set up Dean Vs MS and focused on raising money and awareness for the MS Society Scotland. As a result, he has run seven marathons, won the Evening News Local Hero Award in 2016, became the first Lorraine Kelly Hero and most recently organised the inaugural Ladies What Lunch event that was attended by literally hundreds of glamorous women.
During the event, Dean shared a piece that he had written about his life with MS. Recently, his symptoms have worsened. As a dad of three, I know he has it tough but didn’t realise just how awful it made him feel; something he touched on – the invisible disease. It was heartbreaking but he never grumbles. Via Dean Vs MS he turns his pain and frustration into positivity and just keeps going. With the support of his best friend Phil Briscoe, he is smashing fundraising targets – partially because of the fantastic events he is organising and a lot to do with his infectious personality.
The event was hosted by the hilarious Jim Leishman, offering fabulous food, drink, rugby stars, raffles, auctions, entertainment and more. The ladies fought it out to win an all expenses trip to New York, alongside loads of fantastic prizes including spa days and more. Needless to say I won nothing, but still had a great time thinking I’d very soon be on that plane to New York.
The best part of the day was spending time with a bunch of lovely, positive people. We laughed, we cried, we danced, we shrieked. We admired Dean for being one of the few men amongst so many women – I’m not sure how he coped. We raised a hell of a lot of money. We remembered just how difficult the disease is to live with and we admired people like Dean and another best friend of mine who, despite their hardships, come out on top.
Fancy more events?