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When humans suffer, it makes us really sad. One of the worst things is to see humans who are suffering from some icky disease. We have human friends with MS, cancer, HIV, cancer and HIV (that's really sucky!), heart disease, brain tumours, and CRPS. We think one of the cruellest diseases is motor neurone. These humans will tell you a bit about it.
Early signs of the diseases can include stumbling due to weakness of the leg muscles, difficulty holding objects due to weakness of the hand muscles, slurring of speech or swallowing difficulties due to weakness of the tongue and throat muscles, and cramps and muscle twitching.
As the disease progresses, suffers can experience generalised muscle spasms, exaggerated reflexes, and a progressive wasting and weakness of muscles responsible for speech, chewing and swallowing. As the condition progresses, sufferers may be unable to walk, speak, use their arms and hands, or hold up their head. It's really, really awful … and there is not treatment … and no cure.
As such, fund-raising is really important, and so every year the Motor Neurone Disease Association NZ organises an event called Walk 2 D'Feet MND, held at various locations around New Zealand. We decided to join them for this important fund-raising mission.
Beth Watson, the President of MND NZ, told Little Peppe & Friends that the fund-raising walks don't just raise money; they raise awareness.
“One of the things I've realised is that the walks give the community a sense of the purpose of fund-raising, so they've gotten behind it. It's a wonderful opportunity.”
Half of the funds raised goes to supporting MND research in New Zealand; half goes to the Association to assist with providing support for people with MND and their carers.
“The carers are a real lifeline,” says Beth. “People with motor neurone disease have about 10 or 15 different health professionals involved with their care, so you can imagine they feel they get swamped. Our field workers monitor them and make sure the right people are in touch with them at the right time.”
On the MND NZ website under FAQ is the question. “If the weather is dodgy, how can I find out if the event is still on?”
The answer is that people living with MND face challenges every day – so MNZ NZ was not planning to let “average” weather deter them.
This was not average weather, this was ATROCIOUSLY TERRIBLY APPALLINGLY BAD weather, and MND NZ was right; lots of dedicated humans were not deterred. WELL DONE AND A HUGE BIG THANK YOU to everyone who came out in such bad weather, and lots of love and hugs to all of you, especially those with MND, and their families.
Top Tauranga Fundraiser
Almost a third of the Tauranga money raised was from the efforts of one TOTES AMAZEBALLS human, Sian. She, modestly, wasn't aware of that.
Sian is personally affected by the disease.
"My husband has motor neurone. We have good friends for whom it was quite a shock when he was diagnosed, as he was only 37. It's not something they were expecting from anyone our age, so it's made them change their ideas, get life insurance and so on."
It also motivated them to donate as much as they could to finding a cure.
"We're still in a bit of shock, so this is friends wanting to do something to support Kevin."
Sian is also passionate about raising awareness of the disease, which is almost as prevalent as MS.
"Everyone knows what MS is, but hardly anyone knows what MND is. It's important we get the message out. It's been really positive for us, seeing all these ads on TV at the moment."
The ad with the celebrities makes you realise how many people the disease affects.
"We were talking to Tamati Coffey, and he said the day they went to do the filming they were all looking at each other like, you, you, you too, oh my gosh, you too. It was a hugely emotional day of filming. He was amazed at how many people knew somebody affected by this disease, that we've never really heard of."
Little Peppe & friends would like to say AWESOMELY WELL DONE to Sian for her fundraising efforts, and we wish her, Kevin, and their family all the best.
Tanya Gilchrist, the organiser of the Tauranga March, gives the humans the Health and Safetyy and march information breifing. Ferhad Junior thinks this could have been edited to "DON'T GET TOO WET!!!" - ROFL.
(L-R): Rebek helps check the safety vests for the guides are in order before the march; Dover helps to organise the merchandise stand; Ferhad Junior "helps" to "test" the cupcakes. (Little Peppe managed to stop him "helping" to "test" the cupcakes ... after he'd eaten five.)
(L-R): Ferhad Junior chats to some of the MND mascots before the walk; Rebek, Little Peppe, and Ferhad Junior say thanx to these Totes Amazeballs kids who gave up their Sunday morning to be Good Humans (spot the small giraffe with the stomach ache after testing all those cupcakes); and they're off! Go you Good Soggy Humans.
Not just wet, but windy too. And, of course, guess who refused to put on a raincoat AND jumped in all the puddles?
Rain, rain, rain.
The dogs were well dressed for the walk, and keen to take part.
The seagulls? Not so much!
(L-R): Soggy humans; Little Peppe and Ferhad Junior stopped for a swing along the way; soggier humans.
(L-R): Soggy doggies; Rebek getting up close and personal with Tamati Coffey and his mate; the humans got quite spread out on the walk at the start ... the ones with bad umbrellas spent five minutes wrestling with them before giving up and just getting wet, while those with good umbrellas kept walking.
(L-R): Today's English lesson in pictures: Soggy; soggier; soggiest.
More information on Walk 2 D'Feet MND and Motor Neurone Disease