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14 charity walks held simultaneously across NZ on Sunday

14 charity walks held simultaneously across NZ on Sunday


On Sunday morning in 14 towns and cities all over New Zealand, hundreds of people gathered for Walk 2 D'Feet MND events.

“Despite torrential rain in some locations, over 4000 people took part in walks all over New Zealand on Sunday morning,” says MND NZ President Beth Watson.

The Walk 2 D'Feet MND events were held in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Hawkes Bay, Waipukurau, Taupo, Whanganui, Masterton, Wellington, Golden Bay, Christchurch, Hokitika, Dunedin, and Invercargill.

“Each Walk 2 D'Feet MND brought together a local community of people whose lives have been affected by motor neurone disease,” says Watson. “It's a debilitating disease that can be very isolating for people with MND and their families, but people aren't in this alone.”

Jac Kluts, who is currently living with MND, appeared in a video awareness campaign for MND NZ prior to the walks (see https://www.facebook.com/mndanz/videos/523504601193636/). This year he completed the Christchurch Walk 2 D'Feet MND for the second year. “It put a joy in my heart and a spring in my step to see all these people coming out to support people with MND and research,” says Kluts. “That's the beauty of the walk.”

Motor neurone diseases (MND) destroy the nerve cells that control your muscles, causing the muscles you use to walk, talk, hug, hold, speak and eat to gradually stop working. Eventually, you're locked in a body that can no longer move. The most common type of MND is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.
“Motor neurone disease isn't as rare as you might think,” says Dr Claire Reilly, the coordinator of the nationwide walks, who herself has MND. “It is diagnosed about as frequently as multiple sclerosis. The difference is that most people with MND don't live very long, so there's only ever about 300 of us living with MND in New Zealand at any one time.”

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In 2011, one in every 200 deaths in New Zealand was due to MND. The worldwide incidence of MND is predicted to increase 69% by 2040.
The walks have so far raised over $100,000 from participants' fundraising, to be finalised next month. The organisation is still accepting donations via www.mnda.org.nz.

Half of the profits will be used to encourage and support MND research in New Zealand, and half will help MND NZ continue its crucial work providing Field Workers to support people with MND and their families.

The MND Association of New Zealand (MND NZ) is a small not-for-profit organisation that helps people living with MND have the best quality of life possible, by helping them access medical expertise and equipment, and providing practical and emotional support. MND NZ is dependent upon fundraising and donations to continue its service.

MND NZ would like to thank walk sponsor ResMed and Hound & Steed Creative Agency, in Christchurch. “Without ResMed’s support and Hound & Steed's pro bono work we couldn’t have achieved this six-figure fundraising milestone,” says Beth Watson.

MND Facts
• Motor neurone disease is the name of a group of diseases that destroy the nerve cells (neurones) that control your muscles. With no nerves to activate them, the muscles you use to walk, talk, hug, hold, speak, and eat gradually stop working. Eventually, you're locked in a body that can no longer move.
• MND can affect anyone. It is an uncommon, but by no means rare disease. The incidence of MND is similar to multiple sclerosis, but MND is much less common (prevalent) because people with MND usually have a very limited lifespan. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4109189/ and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3093130/)
• In 2011, one in 200 deaths in NZ was due to MND. (Ministry of Health and NZ Statistics)
• The lifetime risk of developing MND is up to one in 300. (http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00415-006-0195-y Table 2)
• A study in Nature in August predicted the worldwide incidence of MND to increase 69% by 2040. (http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms12408)
• An economic analysis of MND in Australia by Deloitte in 2015 estimated that the total cost of MND per person is A$1.13 million. Applied to NZ we could estimate a total cost of MND to NZ of
$358 million in 2015 (approximately 300 people with MND).
• The prevalence of MND in some areas of NZ may be particularly high (https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal/read-the-journal/all-issues/2010-2019/2015/vol-128-no-1409/6434). Some of the funds raised by last year's Walk 2 D’Feet MND are helping develop an MND Registry in New Zealand. This will give us accurate information about incidence and prevalence of MND all over NZ and will tell us whether NZ does indeed have a higher rate of MND.
• This year in May, New Zealand-born racing driver Neil Cunningham, a James Bond stunt driver who had appeared as The Stig on TV show Top Gear, died of MND. He was 52 and a father of three. In April, British comedian Ronnie Corbett died of MND.
• The most common type of MND is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS. It is known as ALS in America.
• Awareness of MND was raised following the phenomenally successful ALS/MND Ice Bucket Challenge social media campaign in August 2014. More than 17 million videos of celebrities and supporters dousing themselves in icy water were posted to Facebook and were watched a total of 10 billion times. More than US$220 million was raised globally for research.

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