It was one of the most striking advertising campaigns of last year, "Putting the Pieces Together" by the MS Society, showing the legs and shoes of four female sufferers.
Here we reveal who those tenacious women really are, and they tell how they are determined not to let multiple sclerosis ruin their lives.
MS affects more than 85,000 people in the UK and is the most disabling neurological condition currently diagnosed in the under-40s.
Women are twice as likely to develop it as men.
The immune system attacks the central nervous system, disrupting signals between brain and body, prompting a range of unpredictable symptoms including nerve pain, severe fatigue, loss of movement and sight, depression, incontinence and sexual dysfunction.
However, MS never affects sufferers in the same way and varies between benign and relapsing/remitting MS, where attacks are rare with long remission periods, and progressive MS, where there is no remission.
Life expectancy is near normal, but there is no cure, and research shows that about 65 per cent of those with relapsing remitting MS develop progressive MS within 15 years of diagnosis.
Three main types of drug are used to treat acute episodes but there is no single approach.
There are many misconceptions about MS, for example, that sufferers always end up wheelchair-bound - yet this happens to only one in four cases.
And what many with MS find particularly distressing is the attitude of those unaware of their condition, who assume that if they are unsteady on their feet - or fall over - they are simply drunk.
THE WRITER AND NOVELIST
Hilary Freeman, 36, is married to Steve Somerset, 53, a musician. They live in Camden, North-West London.
Ten years ago I was walking along a station platform when I suddenly lost all sensation in my feet and fell over.
I hardly looked like a wino in my smart office suit, yet no one came to help - they just stared at me as if I was a pathetic person who was drunk.
Anyone who thinks MS affects only old people is wrong. I had the first symptoms when I was 23.
I woke up one morning to find my left eye was blurry and my eyeball hurt when I moved it.
I ended up at Moorfields Eye Hospital where this was diagnosed as optic neuritis which, I was assured, would go away on its own. It did, and I forgot about the episode.
But two years later I had just started a new job and was nine months into a relationship (with my now husband) when I woke up with no feeling from the waist down.
After having loads of tests, I was diagnosed with MS and, frankly, I thought my life was over.
It took a couple of months for my legs to feel better, although I'd say they've never really been normal since.
But it's amazing what the body gets used to, how it adapts and I can walk OK - but you never know what's going to happen.
In the first few months I had several falls, with reactions from passers-by similar to the one on the station platform.
Ten years on, I've had no major relapses, though I still have intermittent tingling, numbness, pain and fatigue - it's always there.
I'm able to keep fit and strong by exercise - kickboxing is particularly useful - and because I appear to be so healthy my friends and family have stopped asking how I am.
But they sometimes seem surprised, even resentful, when I have symptoms and have to cancel an engagement or leave an event early.
I did become fed-up with friends greeting me with the words: "But you look so well!" as though they were disappointed I hadn't arrived, muscles wasted, in a wheelchair.
I resent the prejudice surrounding MS - it's a chronic condition that one has to learn to live with.
It needs patience and understanding, but if anyone thinks I'm going to give up on my life, well they've got another think coming.
HEALTHCARE SUPPORT WORKER
Krystyna Howard, 25, is single and lives in Torquay, Devon.
I've fallen over at work or at a party or club when I have had only one or two drinks because sometimes my legs just won't work.
Anyone watching probably thinks I'm drunk and people can make snide comments, but that, sadly, goes with the territory.
I weighed just 1lb11oz at birth and wondered whether being premature had any link.
The first symptoms came when I was 17; if I leaned back on the sofa I could feel a warm sensation in my back, as though I had a hot water bottle pressed against it, and numbness and tingling in my lower legs and feet.
My GP referred me to a neurologist, who said I had myelitis - inflammation of the spinal cord - and I took a few weeks off work until the symptoms subsided.
The MS diagnosis came two years ago after a relapse when I was on holiday in Spain.
Initially I wasn't given any treatment because my MS was diagnosed as "mild".
But last year I had a bad relapse and was put on Beta Interferon which suppresses elements of the immune system to stop it over-reacting to the disease and reduce the number of relapses. It can make you feel as though you have flu.
I'm open about the fact I have MS and my friends don't make an issue out of it.
Sometimes someone might shy away because they don't understand why I can't get a top off a bottle at a party, because I get the shakes, but that's just ignorance.
I have my off days. I miss not being able to wear high heels all the time - I used to teeter around on really vertiginous ones.
So, thank goodness Uggs are in again this year - MS will never stop me looking good.
Janet Smith, 23, works in medical administration for the British Olympic Association. She is single and lives in Datchet, Berkshire.
I'm an athlete, a hammerthrower, and in the same way people seem to think hammerthrowers have huge muscles, there is a preconceived idea that all MS sufferers must be wheelchair- bound Well, wrong, wrong and wrong.
I had my first symptoms in 1999. Bending my head down, I was suddenly aware of pins and needles going right down my back.
My first thought was that this had something to do with sport - I have been a keen athlete since my teens - and so I went to see a chiropractor. He couldn't find anything wrong, so I visited my GP who referred me to a neurologist.
This was very fortunate because just before my appointment was due I woke up one morning numb from the waist down. It was incredibly frightening.
An MRI scan showed lesions - like white spots - in my brain and neck, and I was told this indicated swelling on my nerves that could be MS.
The neurologist explained that he would give me high-dose steroids for five days to stop the swelling and only if I had a relapse would he be able to confirm the diagnosis.
I hated taking steroids because they gave me a puffy "moon-face" but they did the job and after six weeks the symptoms disappeared. In fact, I was well enough to run the London Marathon in 2000.
The firm diagnosis came in 2001 after I lost the sight in my left eye. I had a sharp pain behind the eye - it felt like there was a big piece of grit stuck there. I was terrified I was going to be permanently blind.
After another course of steroids, a week later the sight came back. But the optic nerve had been damaged and this confirmed I had MS.
I have not had another relapse and I could go for years without one.
Occasionally I get pins and needles in my arms. But I stay very positive, try not to get stressed and do plenty of exercise.
THE STUDENT REFLEXOLOGIST
Kristie Johnson, 35, is a single mother, living with children Cerys, nine, and Adam, seven, in Uxbridge, Middlesex.
I fall over every day. My legs are like rubber, they just go.
My son steps over me and says: "Fallen over again, Mum?" I've always been clumsy, but since Easter three years ago, when I woke up and couldn't move my arm, I've become adept at coping.
At first I thought my arm was "dead" because I'd slept on it.
But things hadn't improved by lunchtime and I began to worry. By Easter Monday my neck was throbbing with pain and I couldn't move my left side.
I ended up in A& E at Stoke Mandeville Hospital where it was thought that I'd had a stroke, mainly because there is a family history.
After a week on steroids I was getting better, but a few days later it happened again and I was back in hospital for 16 weeks.
I was relieved when the neurologist told me I had MS. It was something tangible to blame because I had never been convinced I'd had a stroke.
When I came home, the children were very clingy - it didn't help that I was unable to do the school run. But Mum came to help for several weeks until I could cope alone.
After being assessed as fine to drive by my doctor, I could take them myself.
Unfortunately, I have primary progressive MS which is aggressive and has no periods of remission.
On bad days, I can't walk at all so it's impossible-to pre-plan anything. But on good days I can walk with just a stick.
The response when I tell people I have MS is invariably: "How come you are not in a wheelchair then?"
The worst comment was: "Why are you so happy? It must be horrible."
Needless to say, the "friend" who said that is no longer a friend.
It's all a matter of attitude. I go dancing because I love dancing, why shouldn't I?
I get on with life and enjoy myself - if my legs don't work, that's just too bad.