During 1979 my mother-in-law Bella fell over a few times while out shopping. She also started to slur her speech and could not swallow as easily. My husband took her to see the local GP but he thought it was an age related problem as she was nearly 80. After a few months Bella was taken to a hospital and my husband was told there was nothing more they could do for her. He was instructed to take her home and administer tender loving care.
She deteriorated rapidly and passed away three months later
Unfortunately, she deteriorated rapidly and passed away three months later. When we received the death certificate, it included the words ‘motor neurone disease’ but at that time we had no knowledge of her condition.
The years passed. I worked full time at Edgware General Hospital and had a family. In 1989 fate stepped in when I decided to attend a leaving party for a member of staff. The presentation was made by a Dr. Monica Stewart and immediately following the presentation she announced that a midwife we all knew had been diagnosed with MND. Afterwards I spoke to her and told her about my connection to MND. Dr. Stewart said she had made enquiries and there was nothing in north west London to help people with MND. She suggested that I consider starting a branch.
Three days later a large package arrived at my desk from head office. I spoke to Dr. Stewart about it and she encouraged me to “get on with it and start a branch.” So I set about it with much help from head office.
We launched in October 1991 and are still going strong. The committee has hardly changed from the original meeting and together, 18 years on, the branch has enjoyed helping people with MND and their families.
I am proud to have been involved from the beginning but sadly the lady this branch was created for died a few years later. I had a wonderful mother-in-law and I wished I could have helped her more. She taught me a lot and some would say she was my inspiration. I could not help her but I hope she knows how I try to help others.
All the committee have lost someone with MND and have worked so hard. We have developed strong friendships over the years. Every penny collected buys equipment or funds research. I believe that one day a cure will be found and we will beat this terrible disease.