This year you’ve supported the MND community through some dark days.

Could you now send a Christmas gift that makes a brighter future possible?

2020 has been an incredibly tough year, and I hope you and your family have managed to stay safe and well. I know it’s not been easy for any of us. But throughout all the difficulties, all the bad news, and all the heartache, one thing has kept me going – the incredible support people have shown for those with motor neurone disease.

The team here at the MND Association was able to respond as soon as Covid-19 hit. You helped us contact every single person with MND on our database, and find out what help they needed. And your generosity meant we could cover the cost of moving our services online straightaway, too.

I am so proud to be leading the charity at this time – because, thanks to that support, we’ve made sure that people living with MND and their families continue to receive support during the pandemic. We’ve helped them through some very dark and frightening days.

It means the world to know that we can rely on you when things get tough, and the people you’ll meet today will show you how vital your support is. Just as importantly, they’ll tell you how crucial your support will be in the future, because Covid-19 continues to hit us hard.

The cancellation of countless fundraising events – from bake sales to bike rides – means that our income is significantly less than expected. And as a result, we’re doing things differently, finding new ways to strengthen our support services and our volunteer network.

But I want to get us back to where we need to be – including funding more and more research – and your support will be crucial in making this happen. That’s why I’m hoping you’ll be able to continue your incredible support this Christmas.

Your generosity really will make such an extraordinary difference – to people like Andy Laird, who was diagnosed with MND in July last year.

"I'm doing everything I can to raise money, because the MND Association needs every penny it can get to keep supporting me and others with this horrible killer disease.”

Andy Laird, diagnosed with MND in 2019

Andy Laird

Facing the devastating challenges of MND is difficult enough, let alone with a global pandemic to contend with. But fortunately, we were able to be there for Andy and his family from the time he was diagnosed.

We helped Andy bank his voice so that if he does lose his ability to speak, he’ll still be able to communicate. We helped him convert his bathroom into a wet room, so he can preserve his independence and dignity – and we helped him get the welfare benefits he is entitled to. All this helped make life so much easier for him when the pandemic hit.

The thing that inspires me most about Andy, though, is the fact that he's gone above and beyond during this difficult time to raise money for the MND Association. He's doing it because he believes that everyone with MND should get the support he's had. And because he believes in a brighter future, one of a faster diagnosis, better treatments and one day, a cure. Amazingly, he's been doing it by walking as many steps as he can manage and by clocking up the miles on his scooter, in the company of friends and family.

Andy and his family are raising money because they know how much this support means - and how important it is to believe the future can be better for those with MND.

They also know the prospect of us having to stop any part of our work due to the financial impact of Covid-19 is unacceptable. I hope that you'll feel the same.

Please, will you give an extra donation to the MND Association this Christmas, and continue to play your part in helping everyone who needs us in 2021?

This year, our incredible volunteers have been even more of a lifeline to people living with MND, and their families. And a Christmas gift from you could help us do even more – including training a new Association Visitor, like Gill Solway.

I’m sure you remember how chaotic and frightening the first weeks of lockdown were, back in March. And that one of your first worries was for those affected by MND. But our Association Visitors, including Gill, were there.

Gill supports eight families in Suffolk – and when lockdown started, she pulled out the stops for them. She fought to get them on ‘extremely vulnerable’ lists, making sure they’d get the supermarket deliveries and medicines they urgently needed.

Gill phoned, emailed and wrote to the families in her care round the clock – because for her, nothing is more important than being on hand when people with MND need help.

Whatever 2021 has in store for us all, I’m certain that Association Visitors like Gill will be needed more than ever. And every one of them needs specialist training so they can provide the best possible support to people with MND.

Will you give a Christmas gift to the MND Association, and help to train new Association Visitors, so they can be there, no matter what?

 

But we cannot lose sight of the bigger picture. We must do so much more than just being there for people with MND today. We have to fight even harder to discover treatments that work – and one day, find a cure.

This means we depend, even more than ever, on you.

In the past decades, thanks to the kindness of the donations and the tireless work of scientists, MND research has gone from strength to strength. This year, we had more exciting new projects than ever applying for our funding - and any one of them could hold the promise of a treatment.

That's why is it so cruel that the income shortfall caused by Covid-19 could prevent us investing in more of them.

This is a crucial time for MND research, and we must push ahead if we're to make new breakthroughs. That's why I am adamant: we cannot let the momentum slip in 2021. It would be a disastrous setback for the science, as we look to bring good news and hope to everyone who faces this horrible disease in the future.

Take the MIROCALS project that Professor Janine Kirby is working on, for example. Thanks to gifts from people like you, it’s finding promising results for a drug called Interleukin-2, which could offer hope of slowing the progression of MND.

Then there’s the research we’re funding into personalised therapies for MND – using a different mix of drugs for every individual person, which could hold another key to an effective treatment.

I cannot bear the thought of projects like these losing funding – or of bright new ideas going to waste, because researchers can’t get the money they need to pursue them.

This pandemic has thrown so much into doubt. But today, you can help turn the tide. You can make sure more cutting-edge research continues – and gets us closer to a breakthrough.

You’ve done so much for people living with MND. I am so inspired to be part of this community with you. And on behalf of the MND Association, I’m asking you to give what you can this Christmas – because together, we can do so much more. If we continue standing together, a better future for people living with MND is possible.

Thank you – and on behalf of all of us here, I wish you and your family a peaceful festive season.

Sally Light
Chief Executive, MND Association

For further information and support contact our MND Connect helpline

mndconnect 0808 802 6262