Since my MS diagnosis in 1975 I now reside in Orkney's main town having moved here from a small island across the sea to the north.
Although the care I received there was first class, attending appointments with my neurologist, physiotherapist, acupuncturist and so on, could prove near to impossible during the winter months when I would be at the mercy of the weather and the ferry service.
Now I am a patient in a medical practice with a number of GPs. I am just a few minutes away from a hospital and there are ambulances at the end of my road. Carers visit in the morning and last thing at night now that I am wheelchair bound, after damaging a hip in a fall.
Most importantly there are those who will talk openly of illness, relieve fears and take away worries, and a team of medical professionals whose valuable support I receive.
Everyone in Orkney is related to or knows someone affected by MS. People are fair, non-judgmental, caring and generous in supporting 'Things MS'.
In order to raise funds to assist others with MS, I performed an unaccompanied parachute jump in 1988, and in 2013 several of my family pushed me for over three hours to complete the Hoy Half Marathon. Last year I was honoured by being asked to chair the Orkney branch of the MS Society, which I accepted.
The local branch helps its local members in so many ways: welfare, escorted days out, Christmas and summer lunches, daytime and evening meetings, newsletters, financial assistance for equipment, advice, support and friendship.
After all the love and care I have received how could I refuse to help the many local sufferers of this dreadful disease and to tell them that life can be pretty damned good?
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