A GRATEFUL son has said how crucial the role of volunteers have been in supporting his family and father who died from a brain diseaase.

Lee Wickett, of Tavistock, is so pleased with the way his dad Mark, a former grassroots football coach, was helped when he was struck down by the fatal Motor Neurone Disease (MND), that he is taking on an epic sponsored challenge. He and some friends are raising funds by climbing nine of the highest peaks in the UK to raise funds for a charity. On Monday, July 31 he begins the sponsored climb of peaks in Wales, Scotland and England to help the MND Association which supports everyone with or affected by MND.

Lee said:”The charity were wonderful support and helped fund treatment to make dad as comfortable as possible. They were brilliant with getting each stage ready for dad as his illness progressed to make things as good as possible for him. Mum found them great to talk to as they were very understanding.’

Helen Mackie Regional Fundraiser South West, MND Association, said: “Raising awareness of MND is so incredibly vital: “We are so grateful for the support of Lee and the Nine peaks for MND team who are going to put themselves and their bodies through extremes to help make a difference for the MND Association.

“I have the immense privilege of cheering Lee on and I cannot thank him enough for his determination and dedication to help other families who are facing the cruel diagnosis of MND. I wish them so much luck on the 31st July when they set off and know that they will give it everything they have and they also have a whole local community and the entire MND community cheering them on also.

“I am also incredibly grateful for Lee for all the additional awareness his is raising through taking on this challenge. Awareness is so important and through Lee’s challenge and sharing his families personal story of MND he is helping the wider community understand the realities of MND. If it helps one more person understand the symptoms of the disease then its amazing.”

She said Motor neurone disease (MND) was a fatal, rapidly progressing disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. It can leave people locked in a failing body, unable to move, talk and eventually breathe. MND kills a third of people within one year, and more than half within two years of diagnosis. It currently has no cure.

“The MND Association focuses on support all the families and people living with or affected by MND in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We have over 10,000 members forming a powerful network alongside dedicated volunteers and branches and groups that provide information and support for people with MND, their families and carers. We fund and promote research that leads to new understanding and treatments, and brings us closer to a cure. We campaign and raise awareness so the needs of people with MND are recognised and addressed by wider society.” To volunteers for the MNDA use this link: https://www.mndassociation.org/get-involved/volunteering/become-a-volunteer