A DECORATED, one-of-a-kind shoe is bringing hope to multiple system atrophy sufferers all over the world.
MSA is a neurological disease which impairs the systems that regulate blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, bladder and bowel control.
In some cases sufferers are forced to spend their life in bed, unable to move or speak.
Thornlands resident Pamela Woolford was exposed to the realities of the debilitating disease when she was diagnosed with MSA in 2006.
At the time she had little idea of what those three little words meant but was told the average life expectancy was five to 10 years.
Since then Ms Woolford and her husband Richard have been fighting to raise awareness of the disease and urging people to see a doctor if they experienced any of the symptoms.
They now want people to get involved in the journey of the MSA shoe, as they believe it is a beacon of hope for sufferers.
There are just seven official MSA shoes in the world and Ms Woolford is the holder of the only one in Australia.
Ms Woolford said that having the shoe had made an impact on her.
"It made me realise there are a lot of people with MSA," she said.
"The shoe can travel very far and it is a way of getting messages out to people."
Ms Woolford said the shoe made people more aware of the symptoms of MSA.
"Some neurologists are realising that people diagnosed with Parkinson's disease actually have MSA," she said.
She said that older people often got MSA but increasingly younger people were getting it too.
The shoe's origin can be traced back to a practical joke. A group of friends took another friend's shoe while they were sleeping and posted a photo on social media.
It was shown to an MSA sufferer who found the joke so funny she laughed for the first time in months.
Ms Woolford said the shoe and her husband were keeping her spirits high.
"Words can't express how much Richard means to me," she said.
"He is my rock. I don't think I would be here if it was not for him."
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