ON A MISSION Jerry Twomey is raising funds for the IMNDA in memory of his father.
Castlebar native takes on 10k in 32 counties in one month for Motor Neuron Disease
MND was making the headlines in Mayo and across the land last April, when the bold Charlie Bird took on Croagh Patrick in a fundraiser that snowballed. In the end, tens of thousands of people took part in almost 200 Climb with Charlie fundraisers across the world, and over €3 million was raised for the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association and Pieta.
Mr Bird went public with his diagnosis of motor neurone disease last year and has since received an outpouring of support. However, the battle to find a cure is ongoing.
Speaking at a fundraiser just last week, Charlie said: “Every year in this country, well over 400 people are diagnosed with different forms of MND, there is still no cure for it. But it is vitally important that the research continues to find a cure for this dreadful disease.”
One man whose life has been touched by MND is taking on the mantle and doing his utmost to help raise funds for such crucial research, step by step, county by county.
On January 18, 2010, John Twomey lost his fight to MND. His son, Castlebar native Jerry Twomey decided to set himself a challenge to mark John’s birthday this year.
During the month of July 2022 Jerry, who now lives in Limerick, has been completing a 10km run in all 32 counties in Ireland. He has just six days left, including today, which sees him pounding the streets of Westmeath. The run is to honour his dad, but more importantly to raise awareness and much-needed funds for MND.
“We met angels and helpers in many forms while Dad suffered his illness with dignity. The Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association (IMNDA) was of immeasurable support to us and are an endlessly worthy charity to go the distance for,” says John.
“I have been training hard since January. At times I felt that completing this challenge is way beyond me. What better way to honour the memory of my brilliant dad than to face a challenge bigger than I feel possible? I also wanted to do something in every county in Ireland in support of everyone who is, or has been, affected by this devastating disease.”
Due to cross the finish line this Sunday, July 31, in Limerick, Jerry will be running in Mayo the day before – this Saturday, July 30 – and he’d be very grateful for the company of anyone who fancies joining him for a kilometre or two along the way.
In fact, Jerry is reaching out to everyone in the Motor Neuron Disease family, and also sports clubs, running clubs, and social groups to join him along the way, in their runners or on their bikes – everyone, he says, is welcome.
“With company the run feels half as long and twice as easy” he adds. “I would be delighted to hook up and run with people wherever they are. Just get in touch and I will do my best to be there.”
Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is a progressive neurological condition that attacks the motor neurones, or nerves, in the brain and spinal cord. This means messages gradually stop reaching the muscles, which leads to weakness and wasting.
In Ireland, one person dies every five days from this devastating disease. MND is a progressive neurological condition that attacks the upper and lower motor neurones, leaving people unable to do the everyday things that the rest of us take for granted. Walking, talking and swallowing may become virtually impossible, with the disease taking different courses in different people.
MND strikes people across all ages and there is currently no known cure. The IMNDA provides specialised services for people affected by this debilitating disease such as equipment on loan, financial assistance towards home help, advice and home visits by a MND Nurse Specialist. The association also funds research.
In order to provide these vital services the IMNDA depends heavily on the generosity of the public and friends of the association – and people with the determination and grit of Jerry Twomey.
To donate to Jerry’s IMNDA fundraiser, go to www.idonate.ie/RunForJohn. For more information, contact Jerry at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow his run on Twitter and Instagram at @runforimnda.