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Chester MND sufferer raises thousands for charity

Mum Rachel Evans raises funds after diagnosis earlier this year

Raising funds for the Cheshire Branch of the MND Association with Rachel Evans (in the wheelchair) are Katie Woolley, Helen Ithell, daughter Lauren Leigh-Evans 17, son William Leigh-Evans, eight, Mark Anders, Wullie McGarrell, Sue Gwyther, Susan Black, Lucy Ithell

The ice-bucket challenge craze, where people doused themselves in buckets of ice cold water, was a worldwide fundraising success for the American charity the ALS Association and its associated UK charity, the MND (Motor Neurone Disease) .

Jo Henwood talks to a Chester mum who was diagnosed with the disease in January this year and has focused her attention on raising funds for people living with the condition in Cheshire.

Mother-of-three Rachel Evans was told the devastating news that she had motor neurone disease in January this year, after a frustrating six months of tests and investigations to discover what was causing her muscle cramps and muscle twitching.

The former nurse at Claire House Children’s Hospice went to the doctor in June 2013 complaining of persistent cramps which were disturbing her work and her sleep. At first, doctors considered she may have been suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome but when she developed muscle twitching she was sent to see a consultant at the Walton Centre. By November she was losing muscle strength and couldn’t even hold a cup of tea.

Eventually, after a barrage of tests including a muscle graft, an EMG (electromyogram) and nerve conduction tests, she was diagnosed with MND in January 2014.

“I walked into the Walton in January 2014 for my diagnosis and now I am in a wheelchair,” says Rachel, 37.

“It has turned my life upside down. We have gone from being an independent family to relying on benefits. I am still waiting for mobility allowance.”

Despite untold pressures on her family – she and her self-employed builder husband William have both had to give up work – Rachel has now focused her attention on raising funds for other people in Cheshire with the condition.

 

She said: “The ice-bucket challenge was great for raising awareness of the condition and funds but the money goes into one great big pot. When I was looking for funds to install a wet room downstairs in my house I was told that there was no money available locally.”

Last Sunday, September 21, Rachel organised a Bake It sale at Trafford Hall near her Wimbolds Trafford home which raised £1,407.10. Her three children – Lauren, 17, Lewis, 15 and William, eight – were all involved.

Rachel said: “In just three hours we raised all that cash just by selling coffee and cake!”

Rachel’s sister Louise Watson also began a Mile a Day running challenge in July which will finish in October and she has already raised a further £3,356 at the time of going to press.

Rachel said: “People have been amazing and I would like to thank everyone at Trafford Hall for allowing us to have the hall for free and all the sponsors of the cake sale who provided prizes for the raffle.”

These included Costco in Capenhurst, Café Fresh in Dunham on the Hill, Hoole businesses The Yellow Pig Café, Doubletree-by-Hilton Hotel, Denton & Hyde hairdressers, Deli Vert delicatessen, Andrew Collinge, of Heswall, Headmasters, Chester, Healthy Living Centre, Ellesmere Port, Silly Billys Play Barn in Ellesmere Port, The Shrewsbury Arms in Mickle Trafford, Mickle Trafford Primary School, The King’s School, Chester and Komatsu of Cheshire Plant Hire.

To support Rachel and Louise’s fundraising campaign, visit Louise Watson's fundraising site.

For more details of the MND Association (Cheshire Branch) visit www.mndcheshire.org.

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