head and shoulders photos of soul singer Junior Giscombe, wearing a salmon coloured shirt.

Soul singer Junior Giscombe confirmed as MS Society ambassador

British soul singer Junior Giscombe is the latest ambassador for the MS Society.

The London born singer, who shot to fame with his 1982 hit Mama Used to Say” was one of the first British soul artists to find success in the United States.

Giscombe lost both his partner Nardina and their daughter Jenique to multiple sclerosis (MS) and feels passionate about spreading awareness of the condition.

Reflecting on the devastating personal impact MS had on his loved ones, he explained: “I watched the slow decline of health of two members of my family.

“The experience provided me with a valuable insight from a carer’s perspective and I have always wanted to share my experience and my story, to bring awareness to this debilitating condition.

“Being asked to become an ambassador is a special honour for me, I am truly humbled.” 

JUNIOR GISCOMBE – Photo Credit: Rebecca Cresta

Multiple Sclerosis is a condition that affects the brain and spinal cord and impacts how people move, think, and feel.

Over 130,000 people in the UK live with multiple sclerosis (MS), with 130 diagnosed each week.  

Symptoms are different for everybody and often invisible. 

MS is the most common neurological condition among young adults with most people diagnosed in their 20s or 30s, but it can affect people of all ages, races, and genders.  

Women are up to three times more likely to develop MS than men.

Multiple Sclerosis isn’t directly inherited, but people who are related to someone with the condition are more likely to develop it.

The chance of a sibling or child of someone with MS also developing it is estimated to be around 2 to 3 in 100.

Nick Moberly, chief executive of the MS Society, said: “Junior has been a long-time supporter of the MS Society and we’re over-the-moon he has joined us as our new ambassador.

“MS can be debilitating, exhausting and unpredictable and Junior’s allyship will help us to continue supporting all those affected by MS in the UK.”  

In the 1980’s, while juggling the responsibilities of caring for his ill partner with his music career, Giscombe found it difficult deciding whether to stay home or go on tour.

He added: “I needed to make the money so all these different things are happening and you’re a young man and you’re not 100% sure about what you’re doing.

“You have set a path but you’re not 100% sure about the path.”

Giscombe acknowledged being selfish at that point in his life, wanting to continue with his music career rather than having to stay at home.

Speaking about the impact on his mental health he said: “It completely throws you and you start to lose yourself.

 “You now have to care for somebody and put in the time that it takes.”

Giscombe explained that he and his partner Nardina had a three-bedroom house and he wanted to look for a bungalow, for practical reasons.

He said: “At the time that we found out that she had MS, there wasn’t a book available that she could read.”

Nardina was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at 27 years old in 1987, two years after the birth of their daughter Jenique.

Her symptoms started around the age of 22.

In the years leading up to the diagnosis, Giscombe said that neither he nor his partner had ever heard of MS.

Before being diagnosed with MS, Nardina was placed on a program for a year, involving walking and other treatments to try to determine what could be causing her symptoms.

Giscombe said: “We were young, so we didn’t really understand and went along the program.”

Nardina had to walk up 30 stairs to get to the clinic on the day that she was told she had MS.

Giscombe explained that one of the difficulties of his partner’s diagnosis was that the doctors treating her didn’t truly know what MS was.

He added: “It sounds terrible to say, but in many ways, she was used as a guinea pig.”

Nardina was then put on steroids as a treatment, with the aim of ‘relaxing’ parts of the body that were being affected by MS.

The result of this treatment caused her joints to become stiff to such an extent that she had restricted movement in her arms.    

Giscombe expressed his frustrations that treatments for MS that he had heard about in France and the USA, were not being considered for use on patients in the UK.

Nardina died in 2008.

Coping with life after the death of his partner

Giscombe had to navigate life with his son and daughter Jenique, who was also diagnosed with MS at the age of 26.

Jenique, who was born in 1985, had first shown symptoms of MS from the age of two years old.

Giscombe and his partner noticed that when their daughter Jenique started school at the age of three, she couldn’t comprehend certain things in the same way as her peers.

It was at this point that Giscombe and Nardina approached the doctors to ask whether this condition was genetic as nobody had mentioned that it could be.

Giscombe describes one of the treatments suggested by doctors for his daughter Jenique, following her diagnosis of MS.

Soul singer Junior Giscombe, being interviewed on Zoom by Cheryl Fergus-Ferrell – Video credit: Cheryl Fergus-Ferrell

Having rejected this needle treatment, Giscombe explained that he was not satisfied with other suggested medications for his daughter because they had not been case studied on black patients.

He said: “I asked them: ‘What is the composition of these pills?’ ‘Have you tested them on black people?’ and ‘Does it work for black people?’”

As Jenique’s condition progressed, Giscombe decided to go down a more holistic program for the care of his daughter.

This included sourcing specific fruits, sea moss and various items which were imported from the Caribbean.

Giscombe is of Jamaican descent.

According to Giscombe, the green juices made from the ingredients had a positive effect on some of Jenique’s symptoms which came as a welcome relief to both father and daughter.

He recalls the close bond they shared and Jenique’s zest for life, including her love of singing as she would join him on stage when she was able to stand up.

Every morning before school she would sing, which kept Giscombe positive; he said that she never complained once about her condition.

Jenique died in 2017, eight years after her diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis.

Raising awareness of Multiple Sclerosis to a wider audience

Giscombe plans to use his role as ambassador for the MS Society to raise awareness of the condition.

He said: “My vision is being able to give information at the gigs I perform at by gaining information and being able to leave it on seats.

“So that when people come into the gigs, they would be able to pick up something, read about MS and maybe make that phone call to gain more information.”

The MS Society is the UK’s leading charity for people affected by MS.

For 70 years it has been at the forefront of research, support, and campaigning to improve the lives of people with MS.

To find out more about the MS Society, visit

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