Hartlepool family touched by cruel disease travel to London to back campaign

A Hartlepool family who lost a loved one to a cruel disease travelled to London to support a campaign to help sufferers get help sooner.

Monday, 9th September 2019, 06:00 am
Sandra Hamilton (right) and daughters Jayne Donkin (far left) and Michelle Moran with Jeremy Vine at the Scrap 6 Months event in Westminster.

Sandra Hamilton and her two daughters Michelle Moran and Jayne Donkin were invited to the House of Commons to lend support to the Motor Neurone Disease Association which is calling on Parliament to change the benefits system for terminally ill people.

Currently, a person must have a life expectancy of six months or less to get fast access to benefits.

Sandra’s husband, and Michelle and Jayne’s dad, Brian Hamilton died in October 2017, aged 75, just 11 months after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

The MND Association and its local supporters have been campaigning for a change in the law under the Scrap 6 Months banner for the last year.

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The event in Westminster was held to mark a new parliamentary inquiry report which deemed the current benefits system for dying people unfit for purpose.

Sandra, a volunteer and fundraiser who was invited as the lead campaigner from Hartlepool, said: “As an MND Association campaigner I have been raising awareness of the difficulty many terminally ill people face accessing benefits they desperately need for some time.

“It was a privilege to attend the Parliamentary drop in and heartening to hear the results of the report which add further weight to our call for a change in the law.

“The drop-in gave us chance to speak to MPs and urge them to take action.”

Sandra, Jayne and Michelle also met and had their picture taken with TV and radio broadcaster Jeremy Vine who is a patron of the MND Association.

Sandra said he was very sympathetic to those affected by the disease and even took the time to message them on Twitter later.

Last year, Hartlepool Borough Council adopted the Motor Neurone Disease Charter to help improve local support after an appeal by Sandra, Jayne and Michelle.

Six people a day in the UK are diagnosed with the terminal condition which attacks sufferers’ ability to move, talk and eventually breathe.