"In 2012, I bought myself a bicycle in an effort to regain some fitness. Nearing 40 and weighing 145kg, I had always played the ‘cheerful fat guy’, but struggled with my weight. After riding to work for a few days, I experienced such severe numbness in my legs that I had trouble walking. After a long series of tests, scans, pokes and prods, I was diagnosed with transverse myelitis in 2013, and finally remitting-relapsing multiple sclerosis in August 2014.

I remember that day vividly – I messaged my wife and then got in my car. I was just leaving the specialist when I felt an overwhelming, impotent rage. I’d never felt so weak or helpless in all my life. Dark visions of being laid out and useless filled my mind.

Fortunately, my strength has always been the great people I surround myself with, and the responsibility I feel to them. First among those are my wife and daughter. I realised I could not be that ‘cheerful fat guy’ any more – to be that size and unable to care for myself would put a burden on my family that I wasn’t prepared to accept.

I had bariatric surgery in April 2014 and not long after my wife did the same. Over the next 12 months, supporting change in each other, we shed more than 140kg between us. I lost nearly half my bodyweight.

‘Losing myself’ meant simple but profound changes – most of which I could never have imagined. Being able to just walk into any store and buy any shirt that takes my eye – unbelievable! A tragically bad but enthusiastic cricketer, I started playing at the age of 40 and am now Vice President at my Club.

But most important to me is the change to how I can ‘be there for’ my family. Overall, MS has improved my health, by giving me the impetus to actively manage my eating, do more exercise and be more engaged socially.

I am a powerful, honest, energetic and engaging speaker with a family history in promotions and presentation. My story is as humble as it is profound, and as important as it is ordinary.

I hope to leave you with an inspirational take on the importance you play not just in your own, but other people’s lives. I am looking forward to sharing my MS journey with others as an ambassador."

Every ticket sold in the MS Dream Raffle supports thousands of Australians, just like Mark, living with multiple sclerosis. Thank you for making a life-changing difference and good luck in the prize draws.