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Motor Neuron Disease

Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is a disease in which the nerves controlling the voluntary muscles gradually fail causing muscle weakness, wasting and paralysis.

Speech, swallowing and breathing are affected so a sufferer can be unable to eat, speak or breathe without medical aids. Because intellect, vision, hearing and sense of touch are retained in most cases, awareness of their condition is very real to them. In Australia, on average, more than one person is diagnosed every day. There is no remission and no cure, with a life expectancy of 2-3 years. It is no respecter of persons as it strikes randomly and at any age.

Many readers will know Pam Whitten, former Bannockburn resident now living in Lethbridge. Pam is bravely facing the struggle of living with MND. Up until last year Pam was very actively involved in many organizations and charities - pony club activities, riding for the disabled, the Bannockburn Presbyterian Church etc. all of which she still loves to attend. Now in a wheelchair, struggling to speak, eat or move, Pam has a smile that would melt one's heart and a faith to inspire all who know her. Our thoughts go out to her and her devoted carers, especially Alan and Bronwyn.

MND Victoria is devoted to helping sufferers and carers of this baffling disease by supplying them with the many varied needs for the multiple conditions it causes. Also much money is needed for research into the cause and for a cure for MND.

MND Barwon Support Group was formed to support this cause. Our first meeting was held on 3rd December 1990. We have decided to lunch together at Café Bannockburn at 12 noon on the 6th December to celebrate our first 20 years. We would welcome anyone to come and have a chat with us about MND and our activities. We are hoping that Pam will join us along with Alan. She certainly has that intention.

Another sufferer who intends to be there is Crocket Cooke from Ocean Grove. His motto - also one of MND's - is NEVER GIVE UP. He will only be returning the day before from taking part in the Great Victorian Bike Ride - a feat which he successfully completed last year. This year he has had to have a 'trike' especially made as he was struggling to get on his two wheel special without falling. Good luck Crocket and stay safe! He would welcome sponsors to raise money for MND.

MND Barwon really appreciates the support it has received in Bannockburn during MND week each year. This year more than $1300.00 was raised here and forwarded to MND Victoria for aids and research. Another money raising effort is the sale of corks to purchase wheelchairs. We appreciate any contribution of used corks at all. I will be happy to collect or receive any at any time. Phone me on 03 5281 2086 or call at 15 Victor St, Bannockburn. We also have a collection point at Dan Murphy's in Geelong West.

Tombstone Country at Shaws Road, Teesdale is a Country Music fun afternoon which starts with a BBQ lunch at 12.30pm. It is held monthly and has raised more than $200,000 for local charities since its creation by Murray Walker about 12 years ago. We are grateful to him for his generous offer to run the December one for MND. So come along on the 10th December, tap your toes to the rhythm and support us and so support the sufferers of this devastating disease.

We offer them care for today and hope for a future.

Audrey Marshall, Barwon Regional Support Group.