KEN MacLennan did not realise what Motor Neurone Disease (MND) was until two people in his life were struck down by the debilitating condition.
Seeing the devastating effects so close to home, Mr MacLennan pioneered the annual MND Drive, this year titled Southwest Adventure 2016, to raise funds and awareness about the disease.
“Having an understanding this disease is deadly gave me a whole new perspective on it,” he said.
“A colleague was incapacitated in a wheelchair and nearly dead but before that I didn’t actually even know what the disease was and how it affects people.
“I was sitting on the couch watching Top Gear with a beer and the most popular episodes where when they did road trips, which made me think there are a lot of people that enjoy a good fun road trip which is where the concept of the drive started.”
Now in its fourth year, participants will follow each other convoy style and with a set of clues, through WA countryside, all with the hope of raising much-needed funds and awareness.
“It’s the best feeling of camaraderie in the group, and it’s infectious,” Mr MacLennan said.
“Each team really gets involved with the fundraising in the lead-up to the event, and to date we have raised more than half a million dollars for MND.
“I’d love to get over $200,000 for this year – that is the target.”
The group will leave from the East Fremantle Football Club on October 21 with a send-off breakfast before arriving in Busselton for the first evening.
“All up over three days and two nights we, the 16 cars in the convoy, will cover around 800km of ground,” Mr MacLennan said.
MNDAWA executive officer Maeve Egan said the association relied on communtiy generosity.
“MND is a group of diseases in which the nerve cells (neurones) controlling the muscles that enable us to move, speak, breathe and swallow, undergo degeneration and die,” she said.
“There is no effective treatment and there is no cure, with a life expectancy from diagnosis an average of only 27 months.
“Funds raised from the MND Drive will help us continue our specialised care and support services for people living with MND in WA and their families.”