Published: 11:00, 25 July 2014
Stars have come out in support of a terminally ill man who is raising money and awareness for a rare condition that has left him unable to move.
Jody Duff, of Fanconi Road, Lordswood, suffers from motor neurone disease (MND) and is working tirelessly with family and friends to raise cash for the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MND Association).
So far, he has raised £20,000 in three weeks – including a £10,000 donation from Coldplay, after lifelong fan Jody met frontman Chris Martin and the band. They even dedicated a song to him at the Royal Albert Hall.
Jody's sister, Alicia Duff, and friend, Stacie Boy, organised a funday on Sunday at the Victoria Cross pub in Lordswood to raise money and awareness for MNDA.
The day raised over £5,500 for the charity.
Jody, 37, who was born with spina bifida – when the spine does not develop properly in the womb – was diagnosed with MND in 2004.
Scroll down for video of Coldplay dedicated a song to Jody
He first realised something was wrong when he started finding it more difficult to walk.
Jody said: "My legs kept giving way underneath me. I went from my walking stick, to crutches, to a manual wheelchair, to an electric wheelchair."
It took four years to diagnose Jody with MND, a progressive neurological condition that affects the cells and nerves in the brain, causing limited mobility.
Jody, who went to Chatham South school, said: "I've always been an independent person and the hardest thing to adjust to was having to ask people to help.
"Even with spina bifida, I was still able to be drive my own car and work. Now I can't give myself food or drink."
But Jody does not let MND stop him from doing the things he wants to do. His sister, Alicia Duff, said: "He'll find a way to do it his way and he'll do as much of that as he can. We have a family saying, great PMA – positive mental attitude."
And it was that positive mental attitude that led Jody to eventually meet Chris Martin after a concert at The Royal Albert Hall on July 1.
Jody's friend, Adam Powell, had been trying for weeks to arrange for him to meet the band, and handed a three-page letter into reception when they arrived.
Jody, Adam and another friend, Andy Roberts, waited around after the show and asked a member of staff to pass on a second message to Coldplay.
After waiting for half an hour, the band's tour manager came over to them and said the band would love to meet them.
Jody said: "Chris stopped whatever he was doing and sat next to me and was genuinely interested in finding out about motor neurone disease."
Chris then invited them to the after-show party, before asking Jody to come back the following evening for their final show.
The next night, Jody and his two sisters, Lauri and Chayla Duff, mingled with the stars in the friends and family lounge, snapping pictures with Hollywood actor Orlando Bloom and others celebrities.
Video: Coldplay dedicate Fix You to Jody Duff
At the end of the show, Chris Martin dedicated Jody’s favourite song, Fix You, to him.
He told the 5,000-strong crowd: “We just want to send him, from us and from all of you, as much love as we possibly can.
"He’s very inspiring and he said that every day you live, you should live it as though it’s your last and that’s such an amazing thing to hear from some who’s gone through so much.”
Since the show Kings of Leon, Stephen Fry and Holly Willoughby and other celebrities have tweeted their support.
Jody's next aim is to get MND to be the number one trending tweet worldwide.
You can donate online at www.justgiving.co.uk/jodyduff or text YYNU77 followed by £1, £5 or £10 to 70070.
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