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Fiona HannaCommunications Manager

Run Forest Run… #GoProject

On the 23rd September I completed the Belfast Half Marathon – something I never thought I would do! Thankfully it was a gorgeous Sunday morning and the sun shone down as I made my way around the 21km route. A fantastic way to see all the great sights across the City!

I wanted to take the opportunity to thank everyone for their support. Both in terms of encouragement and belief that I could actually do it, and more importantly for helping raise vital funds for Motor Neurone Disease Association Northern Ireland.

I first came into contact with the MND Association Northern Ireland when I interviewed a number of the branch members as part of my Masters dissertation. I explored the charity’s communications response to the global social media Ice Bucket Challenge campaign. This is when I first met Alana, now a fantastic member of #TeamJago!

After learning more about the devastating disease, the touching personal stories of the branch members and the hard work of the MND Association, I had always wanted to do something and gave a little back. This is why I decided to take the plunge and run the race for the MND Association.

MND attacks the nerves that control movement so muscles no longer work. It does not usually affect the senses such as sight, hearing and feeling.

Just the Friday of the weekend of the Half Marathon, we hosted Jago’s Go Project Digital Workshop in Belfast for charities and non-profit organisations. This is where I met Colm.

Colm is so warm and enthusiastic, and is the charity’s Social Media Coordinator. Colm was diagnosed with MND a couple of years ago and has now lost his voice. I hadn’t even realised that over 80% of people with MND have communication difficulties, and for some it can be one of the first muscles to be affected.

A person’s lifetime risk of developing MND is around 1 in 300. That’s one person in an average size cinema screen. There is no cure and the MND Association is the only national charity in focused on MND care, research and campaigning.

I have been overwhelmed by the fundraising support. I set what I thought was an ambitious target of £700 and this has been surpassed, with donations still coming in every day this week. Thank you so much to every single person that donated, it is really much appreciated. The charity can put this money towards supporting people affected by MND. For example, the total amount of money contributed could fund a riser recliner armchair, helping to make someone with MND more comfortable.

I also wanted to thank #TeamJago in particular for their support during my training, and to Shona for giving me this platform through our Go Project to raise awareness of the devastating disease and the fundraising page. Onwards and upwards for the next one – I now have a PB to beat!



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