“Right….I have decided “ he said. “What have you decided ?” I said curious, even though I was immersed in my breadmaking. “ I’m going to do a million!! “….I was even more curious by now! A million pounds perhaps (well we are always trying to raise funds) but a MILLION? Our normal fund raising activities have been severely curtailed this year, no social gatherings, face to face quizzes, cake sales or group walks have been possible…so this seemed almost unachievable.
During this uniquely trying, Covid ridden, frightening, challenging time even a hundred would be fabulous….but a million? I looked at Clive with admiration….”A million pounds, that would be astounding “ I said….he gave me one of those looks….”Not pounds silly, I shall be cycling a million!!”…”Miles or kilometres ? That’s an awful long way whichever”….Clive sighed and then explained he had set himself a target to cycle a million metres during this, his seventy fifth year to try and raise funds to support people living with MND living in our area, East Kent!! It sounded almost impossible when he first told me…but here we are, 10 months on and only 68,000 metres to finish what seemed an insurmountable task at the start!
The secret to completing the gargantuan task is, of course planning, organisation and having a VERY understanding wife!! Come rain or shine, wind or hail, Clive has been pounding away every day on his bike….and bit by bit, metre by metre the target is being met! Well….perhaps not in the way he would have chosen back in October 2019…..the cycle paths are so near and yet so far, we have both had to shield throughout the pandemic….who knew this virus would nearly scupper the planned ride last year? No….a bit of lateral thinking, and an old bike stand later the ride has been almost entirely completed in our shed!! So social distancing and health needs have been met more than adequately. Clive has clambered on his trusty (rusty!!) steed every day and is nearly there. The almost daily plea “ Have you seen my cycling shorts?” has been regularly met with “ Where did you last put them?” The aching cramped legs are now rippling with muscles …and a little money has been raised on the Just Giving Page to try and supplement the hugely reduced funds raised this year. Who knows…a million might mean exactly that..we will just have to see on his 75th birthday on September 26th when this challenge is complete.
The Pru100 cycle ride was cancelled this year due to Corona Virus. Mick Rendell has decided to cycle an alternative 100 miles in support of Motor Neurone Disease Association, as a colleague has been diagnosed diagnosed with the illness, robbing him and his family of the life they had together.
Mick decided to ride on the weekend of the Pru100 event. He will ride 100 miles on Saturday 15th August. Mick also persuaded his wife Jackie to ride Pru46 miles tandem on Sunday 16th. After a hard 100 miles on the Saturday, Jackie may need to do all the work on the Sunday.
In Mick’s words
It was my intention to ride the Pru100 event again this year and ride in aid of the Motor Neurone Disease Association of East Kent. I am riding on behalf of a colleague Craig Whitelaw who is currently suffering from this debilitating illness. Craig was an energetic Broker Consultant and who is now confined to a wheelchair unable to walk or use his hands. In the past year Craig has been robbed of normal family life and has a wife a two young children who now have to watch their husband/father suffer.
I am (fingers crossed, touch wood etc) fit enough to do the things I want (mainly cycling) without issues and feel I can help people who can’t by raising money for the worthwhile causes who support them. The Pru100 like many events has been cancelled this year so I have signed up to do 100 miles around Kent (much harder than the Pru course) as an alternative. The Pru run 3 events, a 19 mile ride, a 46 mile and the 100 mile, so we have registered for two distances and I will ride the 100 miles on the Saturday solo and Jackie (my wife) and I will ride 46 miles on the tandem on Sunday.
Most of us are fortunate to still be fit and healthy and Craig is one of us, a member of our industry so please take the time to look at the link below and give generously where possible.
Mick Rendell July 2020.
The course is planned and Mick has a few friends joining him. The course is about as hard as you can make it in Kent with 5,700 ft of climbing.
We will be holding an on-line support meeting on Wednesday 15th July at 11am. We will be using Zoom, you can download the app at https://zoom.us/support/download
If you are living with MND or have been affected by MND, you are very welcome to join us.
We very much hope this meeting will be a success and we will consider further meetings if there is demand. We feel it might be possible to have meetings for specific activities, such as music, films, books or indeed anything for which there is demand from members.
Our current chairman is standing down in September and we are seeking a volunteer to fill this role.
As Branch Chair, you will:
• Ensure continued delivery and development of our local work to support people with MND and their families
• Plan, prepare for and facilitate committee meetings • Ensure appropriate decisions are made in a timely way when required • Support Branch volunteers in planning and coordinating Branch activities • Ensure Branch volunteers are aware of and follow the Association’s policies and procedures • Induct and mentor new volunteers • Work in partnership with staff to recruit new volunteers • Act as an ambassador for the Association and as a host at Branch events.
This is an excellent opportunity to develop utilise your leadership skills and get involved with your local community. We are looking for someone reliable, warm and empathetic with the ability to motivate others. Leadership skills and experience of chairing meetings would be an advantage, along with good organisational and listening skills.
The group Chair will usually work for approximately 7-10 hours a week and facilitate on average 6 committee meetings a year and be involved in perhaps another dozen meetings during the year.
You’ll be inducted into the role and informed about the Association. As part of this, you will receive e-learning, face-to-face training and mentoring.
During the current Covid 19 pandemic, we have been obliged to cancell many fund raising events and this has left us some £10,000 short of funds in 2020 to provide support to people living with MND and their families in East Kent.
The East Kent Branch of the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA) has launched a special appeal for donations to maintain their vital support for people living with the terminal illness Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in East Kent.
If we are unable to increase our funds over the next few months, we may have to reduce the level and types of support that we currently provide. Clearly that is not something we wish to happen as we know how much these things mean to people living with MND.
If you are one of the lucky ones who is saving money during this crisis, by not going out, holidaying, not visiting the hairdresser, please consider sending some of those savings to support people living with MND please visit:
We completely understand that not everyone is in a position to support us but if you are able to donate, we will ensure every penny will be spent in continuing to provide this vital support for people in East Kent, at a time when it is needed more than ever.
Thank you from all of us at the East Kent Group of the MND Association.
One of our members wrote the following report about services being offerred during the current pandemic crisis.
Due to Covid-19 my normal clinic was cancelled. I was offered a video consultation instead.
This would be with the same consultant and specialist nurse
that I would have seen.
The only stipulation was that I had to have a smartphone
(ios or android).
If I didn’t have a smartphone there was a contact number to
call to advise them.
On the day of my appointment I received a text message with
a link that I had to press at the time of my appointment.
This opened a video screen on my phone where I could see the
consultant and specialist nurse in a room.
The video quality was very good and the audio was clear. I
had no buffering issues. Although I have a very poor mobile phone signal I have
a very fast internet connection so I tend to run everything through my internet
I felt that I had had a proper consultation and had covered
everything that I wanted to ask (I had made some notes beforehand).
I didn’t feel rushed.
An issue was that normally before the appointment I would
have blood/lung function tests at the hospital and then discussed at the
This could not happen.
Another issue is privacy. Its important that you are
somewhere quiet and can talk freely. Likewise it is important at the hospital
that it is treated as though the patient is physically in the room.
I would certainly like to use the system again.
When we are in more ‘normal’ times perhaps we could be given a choice hospital attendance or video consultation.
Chrissie Batts MND Specialist Nurse who was part of the above consultation added the following.
Since the start of the
Covid-19 virus which has caused havoc in our lives, we have all had to
adapt. Being a technophobe with little
knowledge, this has been even more of a challenge.
Usually, I would meet people living with MND at home or in the clinic, having face to face to discussions. As clinics and home visits became suspended, I was asked to trial the new system that EKHUFT were introducing to support consultations.
I trialled this with a
couple of colleagues prior to breaking it out to patients!
I surprised myself as to
how easy this system is to use, so am encouraging other nurses to use this
system. Obviously it isn’t the same as
meeting face to face but, at the present time, it is solving a few difficulties.
If you have used the system with me please let me know your thoughts which I can share with the IT team
Sadly the 1st ever 10k Fun run to support MNDA to have been held on Saturday 18th April 2020 has been cancelled due to Corona Virus. This event was organised by students from East Kent College. MNDA East Kent would like to thank the students for all their efforts and very much hope the experience will be beneficial in future years.
There will be two run options.
A 10K run Starting in Minus Bay running to the Reculver Towers then Back again to the original start point.
A 5K run also starting in Minnis Bay but only going to the halfway point to Reculver Towers before returning to the start point.
There is an entrance fee of £10
which includes a t-shirt (collected on the day) and full insurance. Only
registered Runners can run, and they must wear the t-shirt for insurance
Each Runner is requested to find
sponsorship to support people living with MND in East Kent. There is no
obligation to raise sponsorship, but all support is greatly appreciated.
If you intend to set up your own JustGiving page, we are happy for you to do so. Please select MNDA as your charity and then please mention MNDA East Kent in your story to ensure that funds you raise are used for people living with MND in East Kent. Once you have set up your JustGiving Page, please link it to our team at www.justgiving.com/team/mndafunrun so we can keep track of the total funds we raise.
If you can display a poster, we would
be grateful if you could print a copy and display it.
We thank our sponsors; with whose help we can raise substantial sums to help people living with MND in East Kent.
Reculver Fun Run Team
The Reculver Fun Run Team is a group of 1st-year students on a Level 4 HND in Computing at Broadstairs College. MNDA East Kent thank the students and very proud to be associated with Broadstairs College, with whom we have long standing relationship.
On Saturday 14th December some of our members had the privilege of attending a Carol Concert given by the Thanet Festival Choir at Holy Trinity Church in Broadstairs.
It was a most memorable concert, beautifully sung and wonderfully conducted.
The concerts raised £820.00 for MNDA and we are extremely grateful to all the members of the choir, Clifford Lister – the Conductor, Jim Clements – the Soloist and to the organisers. Many, many thanks to you all.
During the concert the most moving speech was made about the loss of a friend to MND. The speech is printed in full below, please read it, we found it very moving.
In June 2017 my clever, articulate, creative and very active
friend Elizabeth, whom I’d known since we were both 18, was diagnosed with
Motor Neurone Disease.
MND occurs when
special nerve cells in the brain and spinal column stop sending signals to the muscles, which gradually waste away, leading to
problems with walking, eating, drinking, speaking and breathing. The causes are
not fully understood, there is very little that can be done to treat the
disease, and most people with MND die within two years of diagnosis.
The speed with
which Liz deteriorated after that June diagnosis was horrific. By August she was unable to walk unaided. By
late October she was virtually wheelchair-bound, and needed help with washing,
dressing and going to the toilet. By the end
of the year she was using a ventilator to help her breathe. By April 2018 she
was starting to have difficulties swallowing and speaking, and had a PEG fitted
– that’s an endoscopic medical procedure in which a
tube is passed into a patient’s stomach through the abdominal wall to provide a
means of feeding when oral intake is not possible. It was, however, her breathing which came to dominate Liz’s daily life as the
illness progressed. She had to wear a face mask day and night, struggling for
breath, constantly trying to adjust the mask with only a very limited ability
to move her fingers and hands. She became terrified that she would choke to
death. Her personality changed and she began to suffer from cognitive
impairment, depression and panic attacks, sometimes turning against her
partner, Keith, and her other carers and friends.
Liz’s life became
a constant round of appointments and visits – medical, social care, physio,
occupational therapy, counselling, psychiatry – whilst at the same time she had
to cope not only with her illness but with the disruption caused by the
necessary alterations to her beloved home, including the installation of a
wheelchair accessible wet-room and a lift, and – later, when she became completely
immobile – hoists in her bedroom and
living room. Dealing with the authorities
involved was incredibly frustrating. Nothing seemed to happen on time, the
various departments and organisations did not liaise with each other, and often
the help that she and Keith needed was simply not forthcoming. Life
was a struggle on all fronts. She frequently described it as ‘hell’.
The help and support provided by the Motor
Neurone Disease Association was one of the few shining beacons of light in this
otherwise impenetrable darkness. The MNDA’s representative in her area attends
monthly meetings with the local authority Support Services, and was able to
offer advice and help navigate a way through the seemingly endless red tape and
incompetence. The MNDA advised on benefit entitlement and provided information
about care and mobility options, including the sourcing and financing of a
wheelchair-adapted motor vehicle. Funding for specialist
posts in hospitals like Kings is provided so that dedicated MND clinics can
take place. The MNDA also helps to fund specialist equipment, such as
custom-built electric wheelchairs and technical gadgets to help with speech and
communication, and sometimes these are available for loan.
Indeed, when Liz and Keith
decided to get married, in early December 2017, the MNDA was able to lend her
an electric wheelchair in which to ‘go up the aisle’ as, perhaps inevitably,
the customised one which had been ordered for her several months earlier had
still not arrived. There are also local groups which offer social events and
general support– such as the East Kent Group, represented here this afternoon –
and online forums for sharing advice and tips about coping with many symptoms
and side effects of MND.
MNDA assistance also proved
invaluable when, in July 2018, Liz’s care package was suddenly withdrawn on the
inexplicable grounds that ‘she did not satisfy the eligibility criteria’. This happened
at a time when she and Keith had very few reserves of energy left with which to
challenge it. Yvonne, the MNDA rep, was instrumental in fighting for the care
package to be reinstated and helping to formulate their appeal, and even came to
their home to be there when the appeal assessors visited. The help and support
provided by the MNDA in these appalling circumstances was essential and invaluable.
I dread to think what could have happened without it.
important aspect of the MNDA’s work is the funding of research into the causes
and treatment of MND, and possible cures. This is a cruel,
truly horrible disease for which improved therapeutic treatment and a cure are
desperately needed. Over the course of a year and a half I
looked on helplessly as a lively, highly intelligent, active person declined into
someone who was hardly recognisable as her former self, desperately trapped in
a body which would no longer function. At
the end of November 2017 Liz wrote “This disease
is terrible. I cannot think of anything
worse. It savagely and relentlessly destroys one bodily function after another.
It gradually takes away the ability to participate in activities one has
previously enjoyed. It takes away one’s personal dignity and ability to manage,
and controls one’s life. It engenders fear of the future and of being able to
cope.” In the end she struggled on for just over another year until January
2019, when she died quietly and suddenly, and thankfully not from the choking
fit that she had so greatly feared.
The Motor Neurone Disease Association therefore plays a vital role in helping and supporting people who are afflicted with the disease, and their carers, and in funding research into treatments. Longstanding members and supporters of this Choir may recall that Eileen Vesey, the wife of our founder, died after a long struggle with Motor Neurone Disease. That was in 1987. There has been some progress since then, but not enough. There is still very little that can be done to alleviate the symptoms and a cure is a long way off. The MNDA is a charity and its important work is financed by legacies, donations and the efforts of fundraisers. It receives no money from the government or the NHS. Please help them to help people like Liz – and Eileen – and to move closer towards finding a cure by donating generously this afternoon. Thank you so very much.
Many thanks to the Thanet Festival Choir who have selected Motor Neurone Disease Association as the beneficiary of their Carol Concert on Saturday 14th December at 3pm in Holy Trinity Church, Broadstairs.
This promises to be a delightful afternoon and we hope many of our supporters are able to attend.