A terminally ill father from Salford ‘paralysed in his own body’ will take part In the Manchester 10k run next week.
John Veldhoven, 42, suffers from motor neurone disease (MND), an incurable progressive disease that attacks the nervous system.
But next week he will aim to complete the 6.2 mile course with the aid of six helpers who will push him around in his wheelchair.
He is raising money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA), who help the families of those affected.
Mr Veldhoven, a former council gardener, was diagnosed with the neurological disease in 2015, after he felt pain in his arm but did not think it was serious.
He said: “It started with a doctors’ appointment because I thought I had carpal tunnel, which would have been a simple operation.
“But it turned out it wasn’t and after a few tests I was diagnosed with this illness.
“I just wanted to do something to raise money for the MNDA and we started talking about what we could do. They have done so much for me so I want to raise awareness for what MND is about.”
His wife Gaynor, who had to give up work to care for her husband, said the disease prevents John from undertaking everyday tasks.
She said: “You basically become paralysed in your own body. It’s already taken John’s mobility, he can’t really use his hands so he cannot wash, dress or feed himself. His speech has also been affected.
“The only thing that does work for John is his mind and his eyes, but for some people it can actually give you dementia.
“Hopefully it doesn’t get that far that it affects his mind.”
Family and friends, including one of John’s neighbours, will jog alongside Mr Veldhoven and take turns pushing him in his wheelchair to the finishing line.
Stacey Kerr, who lost her mother to MND in 2005, was originally going to push John on her own, before others joined the team of helpers.
She said: “They are a really lovely family and because of my own experiences with my mum we just want to do all we can to help them.
“Some people do find it hard to cope with diagnosis but he tackles everything head on, with the help of a really strong support network within his family, especially Gaynor. He’s really positive and upbeat.”
Stacey was already taking part in the run before John got involved, as part of her other fundraising missions that has seen her raise almost £40,000.
She continued: “This one is definitely going to be more of a team effort, the others you do it for charity but also to try and get a good time.
“We’ll all be wearing the t-shirts and the streets will hopefully be packed with people so I’m hoping it’s going to be great for raising awareness.”
You can donate to John’s page here.
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