I attended the AGM for the local East Dorset & New Forest Branch at The Grove, Bournemouth this morning. It was nice to catch up with the members of the local group, who have helped me in my fundraising efforts during the last year. They all work extremely hard to help local sufferers and their fundraising efforts carry on tirelessly year after year.
The Grove in Bournemouth is a unique hotel offering a beautiful holiday retreat for cancer patients and those with life threatening illnesses – carers, families and friends are all welcome.
The staff provided a lovely room for the AGM with delicious cake and refreshments. Apart from the usual business arising, there were presentations to long serving members and also a talk from Dr Charles Hillier, Consultant Neurologist, on Gene Therapy, which will definitely be the way forward for treatments in the future. It’s a very technical area but it was explained in simple terms. In the 1990s they only knew about the SOD1 gene but their knowledge is increasing exponentially.
Sharon Owens, Speech and Language Specialist, gave a talk on Voice Banking, which enables those losing their voices to keep their identity – 1600 phrases are entered in to a special computer program, which then means it can reconstruct words and phrases using your voice. I know Rosemary used to say she felt invisible when she was unable to speak any longer, so it must be a relief for MND sufferers to know they can still be heard. Only a few years ago you were limited to whatever voice was in the system but nowadays there are many choices.
Among other things, the local East Dorset & New Forest MND Association group have funded the purchase of four computer laptops and twelve sets of earphones so patients have the opportunity to bank their voices as soon as they are diagnosed. Funds donated are directly helping people in the local area. Well done to all involved in this initiative.
They also gave a breakdown of upcoming events – keep an eye out for the MND Association at the Highwood Gardens Open Day at Charborough Park on 5th May and in Sturminster Marshall 14th/15th July for their afternoon tea weekend. There is also a golf day at Barton on Sea in June – see the website’s What’s On page for details.