Leominster woman continues to raise awareness of disease that killed her father

Ledbury Reporter: Melissa Price with dad Paul at Christmas 2010, two years before he died. (2515055) Melissa Price with dad Paul at Christmas 2010, two years before he died. (2515055)

WHEN her dad died in November 2012 after battling a rare illness, Melissa Price could have been forgiven if she’d felt more than a little angry at the world.

But that wasn’t something she ever considered.

Instead, she threw herself into raising as much awareness of motor neurone disease (MND) and funds for the charity that hopes to one day find a cure for the terminal illness – the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA).

And Melissa – along with her brother and mother – has held a fundraising event every single month last year, raising more than £4,500.

“I can't believe 2013 went so quickly,” she said. “The highlights for me were the 10-mile charity walk back in April where we raised £513 and the concert Seasons of Love in August which raised just over £2,000.”

MND is the name given to a group of related diseases affecting the motor neurones – nerve cells – in the brain and spinal cord.

As the motor neurones gradually die, the muscles stop working.

It is a rapidly progressive, fatal disease that can affect any adult at any time – the cause is unknown and there is no known cure.

It affects around 5,000 people in the UK alone at any one time and at least five people a day die from the disease.

Life expectancy for most people is just two to five years, and around half will die within 14 months of diagnosis.

Melissa’s dad Paul died aged just 54, 17 months after he was told.

The disease leaves people unable to walk, talk or feed themselves, but the intellect and the senses usually remain unaffected.

Melissa and her brother Michael are now looking forward to taking on a nine-day trek in China next October, with plans to raise £6,400 between them.

“We will never stop fundraising and raising awareness for MND,” Melissa said.

“This year, having one event for every month has really helped my family and I get out of bed in the mornings and given us something to focus on.

“As soon as one event is over we are already planning the next, so it takes our minds off everything and gives us something to aim for.

“Everyone keeps telling us how great it is and how we should be so proud of ourselves but we are just doing what we feel we need to.

“MND will never have the awareness it needs unless people keep on fundraising and holding as many events as possible. This disease has taken over my life so whether it's a trek across China next year or Africa, or even a marathon, I will never stop until a cure is found.”

Events throughout the year have included evenings of live entertainment, a packed out musical theatre concert, a sponsored walk and a karaoke night.

Donna Young, regional fundraiser at the MND Association, added: “Without the amazing support of people like Melissa, the association would simply be unable to provide the vital support services to those affected by MND and fund research towards finding a cure.

"Together we are making a real difference for people affected by this devastating disease.”

Go to justgiving.com/melissalynnprice1 to donate or visit thepaulpricefoundation.com for more information on Melissa's fund-raising.

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