Nurse on a drive to raise awareness

Gilly Smith is part of an all-female team fundraising for motor neurone disease.Picture: Marcus Whisson d409287
Gilly Smith is part of an all-female team fundraising for motor neurone disease.Picture: Marcus Whisson d409287

The 47-year-old Bayswater resident said it was vital to raise awareness about the terminal disease and would be taking part in the inaugural MND Drive from Thursday, October 17.

Dr Smith, an ECU Joondalup School of Nursing and Midwifery senior lecturer, will hit the road with fellow Motor Neurone Disease Association of WA (MNDWA) board members Julie Touchell, Karen Brown and Karen Smart, who formed the only all-female fundraising team 4 Bored Broads.

The four of them will drive the 1500km from Perth to Carnarvon over four days among a convoy of vehicles with daily entertainment and fundraisers along the way.

‘The reason we are doing this is to give back in a meaningful way to people living with MND in WA, by raising as much funds as possible, and also very importantly, as much awareness about MND in the community as possible,’ she said.

‘People still don’t know the disease exists until someone in their lives is affected by it and even then they often say ‘oh is it like Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?’

‘The only thing the two diseases have in common is they are neurologic.

‘You can live a long and full life with MS.

‘MND is a fairly short time from diagnosis to death; it completely destroys the body’s capacity to move including robbing people of speech, walking and eating: it’s a terminal disease with no clue yet as to the cause and therefore no cure.’

Dr Smith said the association hoped to raise more than $200,000.