Kevin Gleeson enjoys family support from (at back, from left)  daughter-in-law Kate, son Scott, nephew Mark Bailey, brother Paul Bailey, granddaughter Ivy, niece Judi Heffernan, (at front) granddaughter Avalon and Toby the dog.
Kevin Gleeson enjoys family support from (at back, from left) daughter-in-law Kate, son Scott, nephew Mark Bailey, brother Paul Bailey, granddaughter Ivy, niece Judi Heffernan, (at front) granddaughter Avalon and Toby the dog.

Motor Neurone Disease walkers to stride Tweed Heads

WE ALL know the damage that cancer can do but motor neurone disease has been dubbed a silent killer.

When a man or woman is told they have MND, it is inevitably a death sentence, with no cure and not a lot known about the cause.

That's why events like the Walk to d'Feet MND on Sunday, May 21, at Tweed Heads are so important.

Kevin Gleeson, of Palm Beach, takes part in the walk to show his support for people like him who are suffering from the disease.

"I also catch up with those people and show they are not alone,” he said.

"Also it helps to bring awareness to the disease and helps people to understand what an incipient disease it is.

"Raising awareness can help no end - if it helps people know what sufferers go through, it can go a long way to helping with public perception.

"As with all diseases, fundraising is of the utmost importance in the search for a cause and a cure.

"There are MND clinics all over Australia which employ professors who are all searching for a cure.”

Kevin, aged 69, was diagnosed with MND in 2011, but symptoms began to show five years before that when his speech was affected.

"I didn't know at the time it was MND as I had an operation several years prior which I was told may cause nerve damage to my tongue,” he said.

"Luckily for me, I don't have full-blown MND but a variety called primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) which is a much slower variety of the disease.

"I have been affected mostly with speech and walking.

"Luckily I still have sufficient strength in my arms and hands to carry out most day-to-day chores.

"I communicate through an app on my iPad called Speak It and have a battery-powered wheelchair which I use around the house and to also travel to shops.”

Kevin considers himself "lucky” as he has the support of family and a bunch of loyal and devoted friends.

Motor Neurone Disease Association of New South Wales MND Far North Coast advisor Chris Carroll said the Tweed Walk was the organisation's signature fundraiser.

" It's a great couple of hours,” she said.

"MND may not be curable but it is treatable and there is a lot of support from the MND association and allied health professionals.

"So I would strongly encourage anyone who knows of anyone diagnosed with MND to get them to join their state MND association by contacting us on 1800 777 175.

The Walk to d'Feet MND starts at 10am at Chris Cunningham Park, cnr Wharf and Bay Sts, Tweed Heads.

It's about 5km and is wheelchair, stroller and dogs-on-lead friendly.

Visit the event website to register interest.


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