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Islington man features in photography exhibition set-up to highlight MS and loneliness

PUBLISHED: 11:47 07 December 2018 | UPDATED: 11:47 07 December 2018

Kozan beside his portrait at the launch event on Monday, December 3. Picture: Lucy Young

Kozan beside his portrait at the launch event on Monday, December 3. Picture: Lucy Young

© Lucy Young

Research from the MS Society has shown that 60 per cent of people who live with multiple sclerosis feel lonely – that’s 12 times the national average.

Members from the MS Society pose for a photo at the exhibition's launch event. Picture: Lucy Young.Members from the MS Society pose for a photo at the exhibition's launch event. Picture: Lucy Young.

These stark figures have inspired the launch of a new photography exhibition – The MS Connection – which has been set up to highlight the impact of isolation on those afflicted with MS. The project features a gallery of 19 striking portraits of people who are affected from across the UK, and Islington resident Kozan Turgot is one of those featured.

“I’m lucky, because my family and friends have all been very supportive since I was diagnosed,” he says.

“Dating with MS can be different though, and it does put some people off – in fact I’ve lost a few ‘potentials’ because they can’t handle it!

“There are a lot of people with MS who are suffering from loneliness. Going through MS on your own is a very hard thing – I’ve noticed that quite a few people I know with MS have lost a few friends.”

Felix and Hugo White, of The Maccabees, and Ted Dwane from Mumford & Sons were at the launch event. Picture: Lucy YoungFelix and Hugo White, of The Maccabees, and Ted Dwane from Mumford & Sons were at the launch event. Picture: Lucy Young

The featured images have been captured by celebrity photographer Louis Browne, and the exhibition is supported by Mumford & Sons bassist Ted Dwane, whose mum lives with MS. Although Dwane and his sister were able to move closer to home upon their mum’s diagnosis, he says that “a lot of people with MS simply don’t have that network, and can end up feeling totally left out of society.”

The MS Connection launched with an event at Omeara, near London Bridge, on Monday. Although it has no permanent home right now, the goal is to take the exhibition out around the country in the new year with the support of regional MS Society groups.

Reflecting on the launch night, Kozan – who was diagnosed with relapsing MS in 2011 – says: “I can’t explain it, I felt like a celebrity!

“I took loads of pictures of myself by my portrait. To go there and see your picture, knowing that your story is actually getting passed on to other people, watching them take a picture beside your portrait and reading about your experience – it felt amazing.

“There were loads of good stories to hear and pictures to see. People travelled from Scotland and other parts of the UK, so obviously if I didn’t attend, I wouldn’t have been able to meet them.”

For more information on the work of the MS Society, visit their website.

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