Runner to take on daunting challenge following mum’s diagnosis

Rosie Gilbert, 62, with her grandson Leo. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Rosie Gilbert, 62, with her grandson Leo. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

A runner from Godmanchester is hoping to raise £5,000 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MND) by taking part in a 53-mile ultra marathon through the Scottish Highlands.

Joe Gilbert will attempt to run the full distance in one go along the West Highland Way on April 27.

The 30-year-old is raising money for the MND Association after his mum received the terminal diagnosis in November last year.

He said: “When my mum was diagnosed with motor neurone disease it completely floored me and our entire family, I didn’t know much about it at the time except for the link with Stephen Hawkings, but when I looked into it, it is probably the worst diagnosis you can possibly receive and a disease no-one should have to suffer with.

“I have taken part in some fundraising before, but this inspired me to go way beyond my limits and take on the biggest challenge of my life, of running 53 miles in one go, to try to raise awareness of MND and direct funds towards any kind of cure.

“A lot of people don’t know what MND is and would be alarmed to find out there is no treatment, no cure, is always fatal and you end up trapped in your own body in a very short amount of time. We have some very difficult times ahead of us and I really wanted my mum to see my fundraising for her whilst she is still alive. Please support me in this challenge, I have never ran so far before and I hope it raises a lot of money for a worthy cause.”

Motor neurone disease is a fatal, rapidly-progressing disease that affects the brain and spinal cord, attacking the nerves that control movement so muscles no longer work. It kills a third of people within a year and more than half within two years of diagnosis.

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It’s a disease that affects up to 5,000 adults in the UK at any one time and kills six people every day. There is no cure.

Denise Davies, head of community fundraising at the MND Association, said: “Without the amazing support of people like Joe Gilbert the MND Association simply would not be able to provide its vital support services, fund research to find a cure and campaign and raise awareness of MND. Together we are making a real difference for people affected by this devastating disease.”

To sponsor Joe visit: