A woman’s inspirational battle against motor neurone disease has sparked a major fundraising drive to give a much-loved mum-of-two her voice back.
Mandy Gamble has maintained her bubbly, positive outlook on life despite gradually losing her movement and speech since being diagnosed with the fatal, neurological condition 12 years ago.
Now money is being raised which gives hope that the 47-year-old will have a computer-generated voice box – like the one used by renowned physicist and MND sufferer Stephen Hawking – to give her back what she misses most.
Sister Dawn Park said: “Mandy joked that she wanted it so she could swear at me again. She’s definitely got a sense of humour.”
Mandy, who lives in Terrington St Clement with husband Julian and has two children, Abi, 25, and Oliver, 15, became one of the youngest sufferers of motor neurone disease when she was diagnosed in 2002 at the age of just 35.
One of seven siblings, she was given ten years to live, but her drive and determination to carry on has amazed everyone.
Thousands of pounds has already been raised in her honour for the Lynn branch of the Motor Neurone Disease Association, and now efforts are focused on raising enough so a request can be made for the charity to consider supplying Mandy with a voice box.
Leading the fundraising is Mandy’s nephew and Dawn’s son Lee Calton, who will be taking part in the London Marathon on Sunday, April 13.
The 30-year-old, who lives with wife Claire in Lynn, has already raised £3,000 for the MND Association after being given one of the charity’s marathon bond places, but is raising extra especially for Mandy.
Hundreds of pounds was raised in sponsorship for him on Saturday, when around 30 people took part in a three-hour charity fitness event at St George’s School in Dersingham, organised by local fitness instructor Suzie Povey.
The 1980s-themed fitness bootcamp saw Lee and other male family members dressed in mankinis and wigs, along with a raffle and cakes to reward participants afterwards.
The £3,000 collected was raised in a variety of ways, including one of Dawn’s popular bingo nights at Ingoldisthorpe Village Hall.
Dawn, who lives in the village with husband Tony and youngest daughter Annabel, 13, also organised a fundraising TV-theme night, with games such as Deal or No Deal and Million Pound Drop, and a children’s disco, while daughter Jodie Calton, 23, raised more than £800 by organising a night with local band Jessie’s Ghost and a hog roast.
Lee’s local pub, the Lord Napier in Lynn, has also helped by holding a charity cricket match and collecting donations on the bar.
Dawn said: “We would like to thank everyone who has donated and supported what we have done so far. People have been so generous, we can’t thank them enough.”
Anyone wanting to sponsor Lee can visit his fundraising page at: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/LeeCalton
Sponsorship forms are also available to fill in at The Studio Hair Company in Blackfriars Road, Lynn, and the Halifax branch in High Street, Lynn.