I’m often asked why I’m still involved with the Association, and it’s always an easy and short answer – there’s still no cure.
My name is Mike Cole and I’m currently chair of the Nottinghamshire branch. I have been involved with the Association for 23 years.
I got involved because my mother was diagnosed in 1986 with MND. As my background is community work, I can remember contacting our local Council for Voluntary Services for some information about any self-help group for people with MND. Their records were slightly out of date and I remember ringing one of the Association’s Nottinghamshire founder members (Ann Gretton) for further details. She was not only a mine of information and extremely sympathetic, but informed me that the branch AGM was taking place a couple of weeks later and that I should attend to meet other like-minded people.
I certainly did meet some like-minded people, including two more founder members (Jenny Elston and Martin Anderson), but also found that the branch was a little short on committee members! And from that date onwards I’ve always been a member of the branch committee, sometimes as secretary and other times as chair, vice-chair or even for a short period as treasurer. I was even a trustee of the National Executive for a couple of years.
I’m often asked why I’m still involved with the Association, and it’s always an easy and short answer – there’s still no cure. As well as my mother dying of MND, her older sister who had emigrated to New Zealand in the 1950s also died of it and I would hate to think of it attacking my children. However, it’s also been a privilege knowing and meeting so many different people through the Association, although of course that’s often been tinged with sadness due to the length of time left to people who have become involved with the branch.
During my time with the Association there have been many memorable occasions. I’ve always liked to get involved in organising events that have supported the Association and our branch has been involved with a number over the years, i.e. Robin Hood Marathon, Great Notts Bike Ride etc. But my proudest was when I ran 12 marathons in 12 months, always knowing that whatever I experience is nothing in comparison to that of a person with MND.
I think I’ve been very lucky and the Association has given me so much in return. It’s a very friendly, professional and supportive organisation and no matter how much or how little time can be given, it welcomes everybody with open arms.