Mike Pennock's SW Coast Path Venture
Motor Neurone Disease: what is it and can anything be done to treat or relieve the symptoms of this condition? The first question is easier to answer, MND is a degenerative condition of the nerves in the brain which control muscle movements (motor neurones) with gradual paralysis of the affected muscles. It is usually the legs that become weak first but eventually the condition progresses to the muscles of swallowing, speech, chewing and breathing. It doesn’t take much imagination to realise that the condition becomes extremely distressing in its final phases. Tragically there is no cure yet and many patients die within 5 years of diagnosis. However Stephen Hawkins famously defied all odds, living for 55 years after his diagnosis of MND.
About 4 years ago Mike’s wife Ros, like me, developed narrowing of one of her heart valves and underwent open heart surgery but post operatively her rehabilitation stalled; instead of getting fitter she progressively become weaker and more disabled. It was several months before the diagnosis of MND was made. This highlights another problem of the condition, there is no one, simple test to prove the diagnosis so, with its insidious onset, it often remains undiagnosed in the early stages.
In the summer of 2017 Ros lived to celebrate her 50th wedding anniversary as well as her 70th birthday. Soon afterwards she passed away at home but her memory is to live on through Mike’s proposed southwest coastal walk. On May 5th he will set out to walk the 630 miles along the coast of Dorset, South Devon, Cornwall, North Devon and finally Somerset.
map showing the sections Mike will be walking during each of the 8 weeks
Please support Mike’s phenomenal effort by donating to his JustGiving page. Your donation will go toward researching causes and treatments for MND as well as supporting the care of patients with more specialist nurses.
Mike has produced one of his famous hand-written plans, which you can download by clicking this link. From the starting date we’re hoping to keep you up to date with Mike’s progress in this section, receiving messages by post if necessary (Mike is just catching up with the modern techy world!).
CJB & TJ – April 2019