Sam raises charity cash for the love of Mum
13 Aug 2013
Disability Support Adviser Sam Ward is taking part in the Salford Sprint Triathlon on 18 August to raise money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association in honour of her mother, who was diagnosed with the devastating degenerative disease this year.
Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is an incurable disease that attacks the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. Messages gradually stop reaching muscles, which leads to weakness and wasting and patients suffering difficulties with speech, swallowing and breathing.
It a rare disease, with around two people in every 100,000 diagnosed every year. But in the UK around 5,000 people have MND at any one time and it kills five people every day.
June is MND Awareness Month and Sam wants colleagues to sign the MND Charter to raise awareness and lobby for more funding and support for the under-resourced condition, and also sponsor her in the triathlon in August and future events if they can.
Sam’s mum Pauline “Toll” Ward was diagnosed in February, after suffering symptoms for a year and undergoing a battery of tests.
“We were heartbroken – it’s a really, really horrible disease,” Sam recalls.
“She has already lost most of her voice and now her mobility also, she will use a wheelchair now when not at home.
“But my Mum is an amazing, positive woman and she is facing this with such dignity. Last week she was outside Ikea with my Dad – she couldn’t talk but she was holding the MNDA collection tin while he did the talking.”
In fact, this is only the latest in a series of fundraising challenges for a variety of causes by Sam – and it was her Mum’s battle with cancer that started her off.
“Mum survived renal cancer in 2003 and, after her operation, she did a Walk for Life to raise money for cancer research,” Sam says.
“As I was cheering her on, I thought ‘what am I doing here?’ So I signed up for a 5k charity run, then 10k and other events. I have raised £3,500 since 2006.”
Sam – who takes part in fundraising events with her DSO colleague Kath Henderson, recording it all in their witty blog – adds: “This charity means even more to me.
“The condition is really under-resourced so we don’t what causes it and have no cure, but one day, with funding, researchers might get there.
“And the South Lancashire branch of the MNDA has been a wonderful support to my family. It’s a postcode lottery in terms of support for MNDA – it’s devastating as it is but without their support, it would have been so much worse. I want to thank them for all they have done for us.”
To support Sam
- Read Sam and Kath's blog
- View the MNDA film, about 34-year-old father Neil Platt's battle, I Am Breathing