This year the Evelyn Nicholson Award for International Caregiver will be awarded on World MS Day.

Each individual who was nominated was highly deserving and it was a very difficult choice for the judges to make. However they decided to honour Amalia María Villarreal de Sepúlveda from Mexico with the award.

Amalia and Ernesto

Amalia and Ernesto together at their home in 2013


Amalia’s lifetime of care made her nomination stand out.  She was obviously able to affect an enormous transformation in the life and happiness of her husband Ernesto before he passed away.  She was not only an inspiring caregiver to her husband but also to so many others in her community and in the Asociación Regiomontana de Esclerosis Múltiple which is part of EMMEX, the national MS society in Mexico. Amalia cared for Ernesto throughout 40 years of marriage as well as raising five children and volunteering with Ernest to help other couples to deal with MS.

Amalia is still mourning Ernesto’s passing but was overjoyed to hear the news and has generously committed to donating her prize money to the Asociación Regiomontana de Esclerosis Múltiple which is currently raising funds to support the building of an Assistance and Rehabilitation Centre for People with Multiple Sclerosis in Monterrey, N.L. Mexico.

Amalia’s son told us about her reaction: ‘She was totally surprised. She did not expect to win, and already considered her nomination her award.  She was quite emotional and shed some tears, remembering all the years she spent with Ernesto, who died on 2 March 2014. But she was very satisfied with winning, because their long battle against multiple sclerosis would be known by many people in different countries.  She recalled that once Ernesto wrote to her: “I have this illness, but we both suffer from it.”’

The Evelyn Nicholson Award nominations will be open from January to April 2015, to keep up to date with this and other news from the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation sign up for the monthly Making Connections e-newsletter.