Friends’ fundraiser brews up sup­port

Hamilton News - - Front Page - Ho­ri­ana Hen­der­son Win­tec jour­nal­ism stu­dent

Hamil­ton woman Leianne Nord­strom has seen the ef­fects of Mo­tor Neu­ron Dis­ease and ral­lied friends to a morn­ing tea fundraiser for the cause.

They gath­ered at her Beerescourt home on Wed­nes­day to sup­port Cuppa Tea for MND, a na­tion-wide cam­paign by Mo­tor Neu­ron Dis­ease NZ to raise funds for sup­port ser­vices and pro­mote aware­ness of the con­di­tion.

She’s also ask­ing oth­ers to have sim­i­lar events to sup­port the cause.

“We’re ask­ing peo­ple to do­nate what they have, a cuppa tea cost, but if they can go fur­ther then the work goes fur­ther. That’s one of our things that we say reg­u­larly as a group, ‘we go fur­ther when we do this to­gether’,” Nord­strom said.

It was stand­ing room only with about 20 women fill­ing Nord­strom’s lounge and kitchen as they chat­ted and sipped cups of tea and cof­fee and nib­bled fin­ger food.

Debbie Trower was at the gath­er­ing to help a friend.

“Leianne brought me here to­day. She’s do­ing this morn­ing tea and fundraiser for one of her best friends. Her best friend’s mother died of Mo­tor Neu­ron Dis­ease.”

MND is the world’s third most­com­mon neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive dis­or­der, af­ter Alzheimer’s and Parkin­son’s dis­ease and Leianne saw its dev­as­tat­ing ef­fect on her friend’s mother, Sese.

“Ini­tially it was her speech. Then weak­ness. She was a very healthy, ac­tive woman. She lived a re­ally clean, healthy life.

“Her vi­tal­ity dropped and be­cause of her age that was one of the hard things to see.

“She had a quick de­cline af­ter that sec­ond year of di­ag­no­sis . . . cog­ni­tively they’re so so aware of all that’s hap­pen­ing around them but she lost her speech so that was hard for us,” she said.

De­spite the ter­ri­ble cir­cum­stances and los­ing Sese in 2016, Nord­strom found in­spi­ra­tion in the courage with which she’d faced the dis­ease.

“Sese just em­anated joy. Sese saw the cup al­ways half fill even in her suf­fer­ing. She thought out­side her­self and her fam­ily will never for­get what she was even in her fi­nal days. When I think of Sese I think of a giv­ing, joy­ful woman that even near the end gave of her love, gave of her in­ter­est of oth­ers and that’s what will al­ways keep me in­vested in it.”

When asked what peo­ple could do to help Leianne replied, “Be­come in­formed. Sup­port MND NZ so we can sup­port the fam­i­lies. If you could give a good amount, it helps us to find out the causes and then pos­si­ble treat­ments. As yet, there’s no key treat­ment and so it takes some good peo­ple. We’d love to do more.”

■ Global MND Aware­ness Day was June 21. New Zealand’s MND Aware­ness Week runs from June 18 to 24. For more in­for­ma­tion visit

Photo / Terry Su

Leianne Nord­strom (stand­ing right) with friends gath­ered at her Hamil­ton home on Wed­nes­day for a Cuppa Tea for MND fundraiser.

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