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Jody Duff from Lordswood, Chatham aims to raise £25,000 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association

By Clare Freeman

Jody Duff is suffering from a terminal illness that has left him unable to move but his determination to raise money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association has inspired a whole community.

In just six days, his friends and family arranged a fun day at the Victoria Cross pub in Lordswood and raised over £5,500 for the MND Association.

But they’re not stopping there as 37-year-old Jody has upped his fundraising target to £25,000 after smashing the first target of £5,000 in just three weeks.

The funday raised over £5,500 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association

He soared to £20,000 in a short space of time with a £10,000 donation from top band Coldplay, donated after lifelong fan Jody met frontman Chris Martin and the band.

Next up for Jody and his team of fundraisers is a sponsored walk on Saturday (August 9) starting from the Victoria Cross pub in Lordswood.

The three-mile walk starts at 2pm and costs adults £2 and children £1. Walkers are asked to wear blue, white or orange.

Jody, 37, of Fanconi Road, Lordswood was born with spina bifida – when the spine does not develop properly in the womb – and was diagnosed with MND in 2004.

Jody's efforts won him national renown - and special mention at a Coldplay gig

He first realised something was wrong when he started finding it more difficult to walk.

He 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.”

Stacie Boy, Jody Duff and his sister Alicia Duff at the funday for MNDA

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.”

Sally Light, chief executive of the MND Association, said: “We are very fortunate to have passionate supporters such as Jody, not only to fundraise but also to raise awareness of motor neurone disease.

“This is of immense help in working towards our vision of a world free from MND.”

To donate visit www.justgiving.com/jodyduff.

Sponsorship forms for Saturday's walk are available from Alicia Duff on 07912 645001.

Jody Duff with friends and family at the funday for MNDA at the Victoria Cross pub, Lordswood

A charity boxing event is also being organised at the Casino Rooms.

Owner Aaron Stone said: “I have known Jody for many years now and he has been a regular at all of our venues and has never let his condition prevent him from living life to its fullest.

“I find him nothing short of inspirational. He is also one of the most intelligent, knowledgeable and comedic people I have ever met. It is an honour to consider him a friend.

“His fundraising efforts are incredible and we will continue to support him in all that he does.”

The event is on Sunday, October 19 and tickets will go on sale on Sunday.

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