A poignant picture of a family holding hands in a ‘Circle of Love’ has been used on Facebook to raise funds and awareness about a rare disease called Multiple System Atrophy (MSA).
School medical needs co-ordinator Jo Green of Riseley, whose much loved father Brian, 76, died of MSA last month, said they’d created the Circle of Love to bring the neurodegenerative illness into the public arena.
“We decided it would be nice to share a photo of us all holding hands at this difficult time, then felt it would be an amazing opportunity for others to do the same – and perhaps make a small donation to the MSA Trust,” she explained. “It’s very close to our hearts and they need donations to help find a cure.”
Jo said her father’s diagnosis in 2004 had had a traumatic effect on her mother Judy, sister Emma and brother Ed: “But thankfully Mum was a district nurse and was able to give Dad all the love and support he needed. With her good care and his determination, he enjoyed a lot of fun and laughter with us and his six grandchildren.
“We nearly lost him five years ago following a hip operation but he bounced back and proved he was a fighter. He was admitted to hospital just before he died but we were all in agreement we wanted him at home where he belonged, surrounded by the people he loved.”
The former Sharnbrook pupil added: “Although Dad outlived his diagnosis, his passing was quite sudden and unexpected and watching what the disease did to him in the end was heartbreaking.”
It has made his family even more resolute in their mission to raise money and awareness
A Trust spokesperson said: “MSA causes brain cells to shrink, resulting in severe problems with multiple bodily functions. Patients often need 24/7 care and in some cases are unable to communicate, swallow or move.
“It can cause loneliness and isolation as very few people – including health professionals – have heard of the disease. It is also very complex and can take several years to diagnose.”
The MSA Trust relies entirely on voluntary donations and its services are free of charge. It also funds research into finding a cause and ultimately a cure. For more information visit www.msatrust.org.uk/
> Support the charity and share a photo at www.justgiving.com/J-Green4/