Sarah's uphill battle
Sarah Potts (Amanda Billing) battles with her MS (Multiple Sclerosis) on Shortland Street this week, when she has a relapse of symptoms.
Worried what effect the condition will have on her this time, Sarah hopes for the best.
When Dr Potts was diagnosed with MS nearly two years ago, actress Amanda Billing wanted to ensure that she was well researched on the topic.
"Initially, I did a lot of reading, as well as speaking to a couple of people directly affected by MS. I also spoke to a psychologist about how the condition affects people's mental health and wellbeing," Billings says. "It's important to me that Sarah's experience looks real, so I always ask the medical advisor at Shortland Street for information about her symptoms."
Billing says her character's condition is something that she is often aware of while acting on the show.
"When Sarah's in remission it's a relief, but I sometimes catch myself waiting for things to get hard again when she has a relapse," Billings explains. "I always find her recurrences a bit stressful and not just form a technical view (i.e. wanting to make her condition looks authentic)."
"I know it's acting, and it's not real, but when Sarah's having a recurrence I do feel a bit of what it must be like when something like MS changes you - and changes the way people relate to you."
Recently given the opportunity to attend an MS Society lunch, Billing says it was an inspiring and humbling experience.
"I was honoured to be able to attend and to meet people living with MS and also to speak with people who devote their time (and financial) resources to an organisation which has to rely on the generosity of patrons, rather than government funding, in order to function," says Billing. "If you'd like to find out more about MS and about how you can support the MS Society, I really encourage you to visit the Multiple Sclerosis website .