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Doddington woman joins campaign to encourage government to increase research into motor neurone disease after mother's death


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The daughter of a woman who died of motor neurone disease (MND) has joined a campaign to encourage the government to increase research into the condition.

Elaine Coates, of Doddington, near Sittingbourne, has joined the national movement asking the government to target £50 million of investment over five years into research into the disease.

Elaine Coates, of Doddington
Elaine Coates, of Doddington

According to the MND Association, the government’s funding for targeted MND research stands at less than £5m a year which, it says, is not enough.

MND is a progressive disease that attacks nerves in the brain and spinal chord and then starts to shut down the muscles in the body.

Elaine, the campaign’s contact for the Mid Kent Branch of the MND Association, said: “Some things are too important not to be involved in. For me, as a member of and volunteer for the MND Association, this is one of them.

“It’s so important the MND Association has teamed up with other charities, as well as people like me who’ve been affected by this brutal disease, and some of the country’s leading neurologists to campaign under the banner United To End MND.”

She added that government investment of £50m over five years into targeted MND research would “speed up the science to lead us to treatments for MND”.

Marjorie Walton, aged about 57. She died in 1999 from MND, aged 71
Marjorie Walton, aged about 57. She died in 1999 from MND, aged 71

When asked why it was important, the 64-year-old said: “Because every day, six people are diagnosed with MND – and six people die.

“MND robs a person of their ability to walk, talk, eat and ultimately to breathe. Yet there is no treatment.”

Elaine’s mother, Marjorie Walton, passed away in 1999, aged 71 – about 10 years after she was diagnosed with the condition.

Elaine said: “My mum died from MND over 20 years ago and nothing has changed – there is still no treatment and no cure.

“It’s a devastating illness. To see my mum, who was very proud, to have to be so reliant on other people for her basic care was very distressing for her and for me.”

Marjorie with Elaine in her younger years
Marjorie with Elaine in her younger years

She added: “We want to change the fact there’s still no treatment and no cure, and we believe the power to do so lies in the government’s hands. As people affected by the disease and working with the charities we can only do so much.”

To find out more about the campaign, click here.

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