Starting at 6am on 2nd April 2022 at Dumpton School, Wimborne, I will be attempting to dribble a football for 24 hours, or 100 miles, to help raise funds for my brother, Paul. In April 2021, Paul was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND).
I will have the help and support of four close friends (Ant A, Andy G, Jamie H and Tim Y) at various stages during the 24 hours, all of whom have known Paul and my family for over 40 years! Without them, I simply do not have the physical stamina to complete this myself, so I am truly grateful for their support.
All money raised will be split between Paul and the Irish MND Association (IMNDA). Paul has lived in Kilkenny, Ireland, with his wife and two children (aged 8 and 12) for the last 20 years.
Motor Neurone Disease is a Neuro Degenerative Disease (NDD) which essentially means Paul’s central nervous system is unable to send signals to his motor neurones, which are critical to be able to move limbs and control movement. There is no cure for MND.
For 50% of sufferers, life expectancy from diagnosis is less than 3 years and the disease will gradually impact Paul’s ability to use his limbs, to be able to speak and in time potentially his ability to breathe unaided.
In the 10 months since his diagnosis, Paul has remained incredibly positive, and with the support of his friends and family, the community “All Paul Together” (allpaultogether.com) has been created to act as the vehicle to help raise funds and awareness.
Paul launched this community with his own ‘Dribble for MND’ in October 2021 when he successfully dribbled a ball the length of a football pitch 150 times. A year ago, this event would have been easy for Paul to complete as he was a keen runner. Sadly, MND meant that Paul had to walk most of his ‘Dribble for MND’, as his body could no longer cope with the demands of exercise.
His hands and arms have borne the brunt since his diagnosis. Paul now requires support with lots of daily tasks that we take for granted; cleaning and dressing himself, using a knife and fork to eat, carrying household objects such as crockery or bags, and using a laptop or phone. Driving is one of the next activities that Paul will very soon not be able to do.
Paul doesn’t know what the future holds, or how long he will have mobility and be able to continue to work in the business he has recently helped to create - ‘ART Health Solutions’, which means so much to him.
The area of life that he is grappling with the most, is the tension of using his limited time to focus on the people that are most important to him, and spending time on things he needs to do to accommodate the change MND demands. This includes rapidly changing his financial plan, to provide for the needs of his condition as well as the needs of his family, while he is alive and after he has gone. MND creates many new needs – housing facilities, transport arrangements, communication needs, medical needs and care needs. These costs are likely to be at their highest just as his ability to earn money and provide will be at its lowest, as the disease takes a greater hold.
Aside from Paul’s own needs, he is determined to help in the wider fight against MND, and indeed Neuro Degenerative Diseases in general, to help others and to contribute in the quest to find a cure. The Irish MND Association (IMNDA) are a charity that provide amazing services to support the needs of MND sufferers in Ireland and whom he will lean on greatly in the months and years ahead. They receive no government funding and rely solely on the generosity of donations to continue to survive.
Thank you for reading, and thank you for any donation. All funds received will make a tremendous difference to Paul and his family as he battles this horrible disease.