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Lockdown Ends But The Teamwork Continues As Motor Neurone Disease Awareness Month Kicks Off

As the country comes out of lockdown thanks to the efforts of our “team of five million”, the team at MND New Zealand continues to rally around those living with a devastating and deadly disease.

Motor Neurone Disease Awareness month kicks off on the 1st of June 2020, and the theme is “It Takes A Team”.

MND New Zealand CEO Carl Sunderland says, “It takes a team to live with MND, and we want all Kiwis to understand more—both about the disease itself, and about the amazing teams of people—friends, family and whānau, health professionals, researchers, and MND support team members—who work together to improve the lives of people living with MND.”

Motor neurone disease (MND) is the name of a group of diseases that cause the death of the nerve cells (neurones) that control the muscles that enable us to move, speak, swallow, and breathe. With no nerves to activate them, these muscles gradually weaken and waste away. The body of a person with MND is going into permanent lockdown, and there’s nothing they can do about it. There is no cure for MND, and it has an average life expectancy of between three to five years.

New Zealand has the highest known rate of MND in the world, with an average of two people diagnosed every week. More than 400 people in New Zealand are living with MND at any one time, and each week MND will cause the death of two New Zealanders.

Despite being heavily researched, the cause of MND is not well understood. Furthermore, public awareness of the disease is low – something that MND New Zealand wants to change.

MND New Zealand is the only organisation in New Zealand that provides free, personalised support and advocacy for almost every person with motor neurone disease in New Zealand. They work together with people living with MND, and their families and whānau, to enable them to have the best quality of life possible. They advocate for, educate, and provide up-to-date information for people with MND and their families/whānau, as well as the health professionals working with them. They also support and fund vital MND research.

Carl Sunderland says this month they’re inviting all New Zealanders to become part of the team as donors, supporters, and advocates, all helping to raise awareness of motor neurone disease and its devastating impacts. He says the message is simple: Get involved!

“Due to COVID-19 we’ve adapted our approach, and there’s lots for people to get involved in from the comfort of their home, from making a donation to our virtual street appeal, becoming a virtual volunteer collector, taking selfies with a printable frame and sharing them online, to hosting a virtual “Cuppa tea for MND” on Global MND Awareness Day on Sunday 21st June. There truly is something for everyone.

“Each week throughout Awareness Month we’ll be showcasing a different part of the MND team, showing how each team member makes a difference. It takes a team, so come and join us!”

To find out more about how you can get involved in Motor Neurone Disease Awareness Month, check out the MND New Zealand Awareness Month webpage here.

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