A GRIEVING mum has pledged to climb the highest mountain in Britain for Motor Neurone Disease after losing her son to the ‘devastating’ condition.
Jude de Vos, who lives in Duns in the Scottish Borders, watched her son Jody deteriorate rapidly after a shock diagnosis in 2014.
Within a year, he was wheel-chair bound, unable to speak or swallow.
He had embarked on a gap year to Australia, and loved it so much he eventually emigrated in 2013.
It was in Sydney he was given the devastating diagnosis of MND.
Mum Jude, a retired nurse, told the Scottish Sun: “Jody started noticing weakness in his right arm and right hand. He initially thought it was repetitive strain.
“Then he noticed he was starting to drag his foot and he had a limp.
“At this point he was told by his GP it was probably muscular and not to worry.
“He went back about a month later as he felt he was slurring his speech and he felt drunk.
“He was referred to a neurologist in Sydney and he had a diagnosis after three months.
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“He called me when it was the middle of the night UK time, and the middle of the day Australia time.
“He told me he had MND. Nothing could have prepared me for that horror.
“I remember I started kicking the back of the sofa because I was so angry.
“I got in my car after the conversation and I drove to the Peak District where I just got out and screamed.”
MND is an uncommon condition that affects the brain and nerves. It causes weakness that gets worse over time.
It can significantly shorten life expectancy and, unfortunately, eventually leads to death.
Jody had to return home to Australia and moved back to Jude’s home near Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, to be cared for by his mum.
Jude, 68, added: “He began to lose weight rapidly and by the time he came home, he had lost 20 kilos. He couldn’t swallow food.
“He fought the hardest battle of his life and yet maintained his incredible sense of wit and humour throughout.
“He used eye gaze technology to communicate and I remember we laughed because he hated the accent and paid for an Australian voice instead.”
Jody sadly passed away in January 2017, aged just 38.
Jude said: “There is so much research and funding put into cancer research but with MND, it’s a death sentence. There is no cure.
“People don’t realise how brutal it is. You carry that burden of wondering if there is more you could have done.
“I was diagnosed with PTSD after Jody’s death and was suicidal. It’s devastating for those who are left behind.”
To mark Global MND Awareness Day on June 21, Jude will hike 4,413 ft to the peak of Ben Nevis to raise funds for the Rob Burrow Centre for MND Appeal in memory of Jody.
Over the past ten years, referrals to the Leeds MND centre have doubled, with 40 new referrals each year.
Jody underwent treatment at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, MND Centre.
To donate, click here.
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