Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

A lap in honour of his father

Supportive: Ian and his son Thomas
Ian and his son Thomas with grandfather Ivan who died this year

A father and son from Dungannon have completed the Lap the Lough cycle challenge to raise funds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA).

Ian Steenson, accompanied by his son Thomas and 13 colleagues, cycled yesterday's 85-mile route around Lough Neagh in memory of his father Ivan Steenson who died on July 24 following a MND diagnosis in 2011.

"Lap the Lough is something positive we could do," Ian said.

"It's lifted our spirits."

There are approximately 120 people in Northern Ireland living with the progressive neurodegenerative disease. It attacks the upper and lower motor neurones, leading to weakness and wasting of the muscles, increased loss of mobility in the limbs and difficulties with speech, swallowing and breathing.

The effects can vary enormously from person to person, from presenting symptoms to the rate and pattern of the disease's progression, to the length of survival time after diagnosis.

Ian explained MNDA NI was of great support to his family during his father's illness, which is why they are raising funds for it now. "It was very good support to my mother, who was the primary carer," Ian said.

"They are great with information and resources.

"It's a very cruel disease.

"My father kept his mobility quite well but lost his ability to speak.

"It was like we lost him and and then lost him again."

Chairman of MNDA NI Stephen Thompson praised Ian's fundraising efforts and explained if anyone is interested in volunteering to train as a lay visitor with the charity they should get in touch with Helen McClean via www.mndani.com or Twitter @MNDA_NI.

Stephen said: "We make sure anyone with MND and their carers have the best quality life possible.

"People with MND are superbly supported by our health service, but when the statutory authorities can't help, we step in.

"It could be something as simple as a piece of home equipment, it might be home modifications or extra sittings by nurses or carers to give families a break.

To sponsor Ian visit www.justgiving.com/lapthelough4mnd

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