The North Wiltshire Group of the Motor Neurone Disease Association is appealing for volunteers to help support patients.
MND is a terminal disease with no cure but the local group supports patients by holding regular meetings and providing visitors to meet patients at their home or speak to them on the phone.
Mike Jefferies, 50, of Edington, near Westbury, was diagnosed with MND 18 months ago and said the support he, his wife, Sherene, 48, and daughter, Michelle, 26, have received from volunteers has been invaluable.
Mr Jefferies, who is the early stages of the disease, said: “At the time I was diagnosed I don’t know how we would all have got through it without the help from the volunteers at the MND Association. My visitor, Daphne Cox, reassured me that my fears were normal and that I was not alone.”
Mr Jefferies, who ran the Bath Half Marathon twice before he was diagnosed with MND, is undergoing a clinical trial of the drug lithium carbonate to try to slow down the disease.
Mr Jefferies, who works from home as a field operations manager for a gas connections company, and members of his family attend support group meetings in Winsley and Swindon.
He said: “I will become severely disabled and paralysed and the disease will kill me younger than I would like but life is for living and I don’t think about dying.
“I see people with the disease who are further progressed than me and they are an inspiration.”
Plea for five keen helpers
Moya Wallis is secretary of the North Wiltshire Group, which covers Devizes, Marlborough, Pewsey, Chippenham, Calne, Corsham, Malmesbury, Wootton Bassett, Wroughton and Swindon.
The group is looking for five more volunteers to visit patients at home and speak to them on the phone.
Ms Wallis, 65, of Bromham, became secretary of the group three years ago.
She got involved after her sister, Molly Kerswill, 72, who lived in Berkshire, died of MND.
Ms Wallis said: “Being a visitor is interesting, challenging and humbling. I am amazed by the humour patients have even though they are suffering.”
If you are interested in volunteering call Moya Wallis on (01380) 859611.
The Gazette and Herald - 17th January 2010