Mearns family’s fundraising efforts

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A Laurencekirk family has raised over £9,000 over five years to support a charity which provides support for those effected by Huntington’s disease.

Moira Marshall along with her family and friends have, over the past five years, taken part in and arranged various fundraising activities.

Her son, David Bowie, grandson Stuart Kelly and daughter Karen Kelly are just a few of the people who have helped raise an incredible £9,072 for Huntington’s Disease Scotland, a disease from which Moira suffers.

During their five year fundraising campaign, David and Stuart have completed the London Marathon, David running it twice in 2010 and 2011.

In 2011 Stuart joined David for the gruelling 26 mile run, which the duo completed in Batman and Robin costumes.

The men’s marathon effort was supported by Mearns Motors, Laurencekirk. A number of local businesses have supported the fundraising efforts over the years including; Laurencekirk Gala Committee, Simpson Joinery, Charles Michie, Laurencekirk Post Office, Mearns Hardware, The Body Shop, Mossbank Breakers, Partylite and Yvonne Robertson of the Basin City Bootstompers.

As well as the marathon runs, the family have held quiz nights and attended many car boot sales to raise money for the charity which is so close to their heart.

They started raising money on Mrs Marshall’s sixtieth birthday, and so at her recent sixty-fifth birthday, where she raised £311 for the charity, her daughter Karen decided to contact Huntington’s Scotland to find out how much they had raised over the five years.

When Huntington’s sent a letter with the total of £9,072 Karen said she was “delighted” and wanted to thank the local community for their support over the years.

She said: “Because the local community has been so good and supported us over the years I wanted to let them know how much we raised and to thank them for their support.”

When they originally started fundraising, as well as raising money for the charity, the family wanted to raise awareness of the disease, which is not well known.

Huntington’s Disease is a hereditary disorder of the central nervous system which is caused by a faulty gene which produces a protein called Huntington and was only discovered in 1993. In some way, which is not yet understood the faulty gene leads to damage of the nerve cells in areas of the brain.

Each person whose parent has Huntington’s disease is born with a 50:50 chance of inheriting the faulty gene.

The symptoms usually develop when people are between 30 – 50 years old, although they can start much earlier or much later and can differ from person to person, even in the same family.

Sometimes, the symptoms are present for a long time before a diagnosis is made. The early symptoms include slight, uncontrollable muscular movements, stumbling and clumsiness, lack of concentration and short-term memory lapses, depression and changes of mood, sometimes including aggressive or anti-social behaviour.

Later on in the illness people experience many different symptoms but these include involuntary movements, difficulty in speech and swallowing, weight loss, emotional changes resulting in stubbornness, frustration, mood swings and depression. In the later stages of the disease more care and support are needed.

Currently there is no cure for the illness and so medication, therapy and diets are used to control the symptoms effectively.

The charity which the family has raised money for is the Scottish Huntington’s Disease Association which exists to support people effected by Huntington’s disease.