AN Ellesmere Port mum-of-two is raising awareness of a rare neurological condition after she suffered tremors and the loss of her sight in her left eye.

When Laura Hinde first noticed her right hand was shaking in September 2018, she put it down to stress and anxiety as a result of post-natal depression after having her second daughter, and being the victim of an unsupportive and controlling relationship, and having just recovered from a chest infection.

But the tremors became worse, to the point that she was "throwing baby formula around the kitchen like it was confetti", and she went for an MRI scan which showed signs of demyelination around the spinal cord.

Laura, a mortgage adviser for Lloyds Banking Group at Chester Business Park, had suspected she would be diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, after her mum was diagnosed 20 years ago with the condition. Although MS isn't hereditary, the chances of auto-immune diseases are higher.

After initial tests, the tremors subsided, and Laura thought she was all clear, but in December 2018 she noticed a flash across her left eye, and by Christmas Eve her sight was extremely distorted.

A three-hour wait in hospital later, she was diagnosed with optic neuritis, an inflammation of the optic nerve.

Laura, now 28, said: "I realise I should have been scared, I’d lost my sight, I had no idea what was happening, but all I worried about was what I’d be walking into when I got home.

"I’d left the kids most of the day and I wouldn’t dare to go home and make this time of the year about me, as I knew all too well how my abuser would react to that, so I kept quiet, plastered on a smile and tried to enjoy Christmas the best I could.

"The eye doctor was of course right and it did get worse, to the point I could see nothing but darkness, at that point I admitted defeat and hung up my car keys, not knowing if I’d ever be able to drive again."

Laura was eventually diagnosed with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD), and she explained that, at the time, she didn't really process the news as she was going through a court battle to end her relationship with her partner at the time.

But a further complication came when doctors advised her to take medication for her condition to prevent further attacks, medication that would suppress her immune system, just as the Covid pandemic began in 2020.

Laura said: "Making the right decision was a difficult one when weighing everything up, I remember thinking, how can I look after two kids, a cat and dog, and keep on top of the house?

"On the other hand, what if I didn’t start them and I had another attack which took my sight again, what if I never saw my children grow up because I didn’t try what the specialist recommended?

"Self isolating was the hard part. I have two daughters, at the time they were seven and two, and our one-hour walk a day stopped us from going insane, so that was difficult to give up.

"I didn't have any support during isolation, and because I'd been put on medication partway through the pandemic my records weren't showing me as 'extremely vulnerable' so I couldn't access Government support that was available."

Besides her mum's support, Laura felt alone, as awareness of NMOSD was very limited in the UK. She searched for others who had been going through the same as her, and found The Sumaira Foundation, an organisation which promotes awareness of the condition, funds research into it, and develops a community where people can share their stories.

Laura, whose daughters are now aged nine and four, is now one of three UK ambassadors for the foundation.

Laura explained: "It's been incredibly rewarding, it's transformed my outlook in life completely. I've met (virtually) over 50 others from around the world who are patients or caregivers, their strength and positivity dealing with this disease is phenomenal. It's given me a greater appreciation of life and a passion for helping others.

"For me, 2020 was the change I needed, that kick up the bum which made me accept that I have a rare, life-long condition.

"It gave me the time and ability to re-adjust and adapt, a chance to become the strong, resilient, and independent single mother I am now.

"I’m privileged to have had the support of my mother throughout my life and diagnosis, watching her deal with everything life threw at her with a smile, gave me the ability to do the same!

"Sadly, my mother passed away last year at the young age of 51 but her legacy lives on within me.

"Yes, the last few years have been difficult, but I wouldn’t change any of it. It's given me a greater appreciation of life and a passion for helping others, most importantly it’s made me who I am today.

"My hopes for the future are to make sure that nobody else goes through this journey alone, and that patients and caregivers have access to the most up to date and relevant information, support, guidance as well as access to all treatments available."

For more information on NMOSD, visit, where people can join one of the monthly support groups. Alternatively, email Laura directly at