I was born in 1952 in post-war Liverpool, England and my family moved to New Zealand in 1961, eventually settling on the North Shore, Auckland. My secondary school education was completed at Rangitoto College and I began my first job as an insurance clerk at sixteen years of age, having just been accredited my University Entrance qualification.
At that same time a passion for Citroen cars started an intense involvement with local car clubs, and ownership of many of those classic vehicles spanning twenty-eight years.
Working as a service station manager in the late 1970’s, I noticed worrying physiological changes which eventually led to the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis in 1982. Fortunately, my administrative career path allowed me to work productively in accountancy roles for a further thirteen years after the diagnosis.
That life changing episode triggered years of community service to MS organisations and the disability sector generally. An integral part of my community support has been a willingness to share the personal experiences and challenges faced during the twenty-seven years with this incurable disease.
I now live in Orewa with my wife of nine years who is also a person living with MS.
In the successful nominations for 2002 NZ Person with MS of the Year Award and 2005 North Shore City Civic Award for Voluntary Service to the North Shore Community, MS North Shore wrote:
Despite David’s personal situation he has the ability to accept what life sends and to make the most of every situation. David’s spirit, determination and sense of humour inspire all who meet him.
“The desire to be of assistance to others wherever possible, regardless of their condition, is my strongest motivational driving force. Mostly a well cultivated sense of humour in all things, an awareness of others, a very good support network including the MS Society, caregivers, service providers, family and friends, and a sense of worth within the wider community, gets me by daily.”
by David Ashton
David’s life story isn’t for the faint hearted, feeble minded or humourless. It exposes how life is for persons living with MS, dependant on the vagaries and mindless inconsistencies of State funded care and oft times compassionless bureaucracy.
A gripping and roller-coaster read, you will be outraged, humbled, overwhelmed, angered, nourished and inspired in turn, sometimes on the same page.
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