A nation-wide Walk 2 D’Feet motor neurone disease was held on Sunday, the awareness day for the muscle-wasting disease, which robs people of their movement and speech, and is ultimately fatal.
Supporters and sufferers of the disease walked from the Palmerston North Fire Station to The Square and back to raise awareness and money for research to fund a cure.
Many were dressed in blue garb as they rounded The Square, followed by a fire truck.
Kylie Martin, 31, from Palmerston North, was diagnosed about 10 years ago, and it started getting worse about five years ago.
She said it runs in her family – her father, grandfather, uncle and aunty had all died from motor neurone disease.
“I’m obviously worried for the next generation,” saidMartin of her four children.
She said she couldn’t stand for long periods and got tired easily.
“Especially when you’re trying to run a household with children it’s extremely exhausting.”
Palmerston North’s Marilyn Merriman, 70, learned she had motor neuron disease a year ago.
She now needs a walking frame to get around, but her husband Ross was pushing her in a wheelchair for Sunday’s walk.
“I’ve just been so breathless,” Merriman said. “We used to go for hour-long walks, now we can’t even do that.”
She said it was nice to meet other people who had the same problem.
More than 3000 people in New Zealand have motor neuron disease and more than 100 sufferers die each year.
Motor Neurone Disease New Zealand general manager Carl Sunderland said: “With more people being diagnosed each year in New Zealand we want to be able to reach those affect and provide the best support for people living with motor neurone disease and their families.”
Half the funds raised across the country went to providing support for people with the disease and the other half went to research into for a cure.