Hartlepool grandad's inspirational challenge after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease on day brother died of Covid
An active Hartlepool pensioner has vowed to hit the road in an inspiring challenge after being diagnosed with a degenerative condition.
Michael ‘Mitch’ Wilson, 69, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) in November, tragically on the same day he lost his brother Peter to Covid-19.
Motor neurone disease is a progressive condition that affects the sufferer’s nerves in the brain and spinal chord, leading muscle weakeness, stiffeness and waste.
Despite being diagnosed with the condition which shortens a person’s life, Mitch, a granddad of four, says he feels ‘fine’.
Not only that, he has decided to walk 777,777 steps – roughly 389 miles – in seven weeks to raise money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.
Mitch, of Hart Station, said: “Since the middle of last year I started biting the inside of my cheek and my speech started to slur a bit.
"An ambulance came out and everything was fine, no stroke or anything.”
A speech therapist from Hartlepool hospital referred Mitch to James Cook University Hospital where following numerous tests he was diagnosed with MND.
But Mitch, who is dad to Keith, 45, and Michelle, 40, added: “I’m happy, relaxed and keeping on enjoying life.
"There’s certain foods I can’t eat but I’m managing very well and keeping fit.”
He is an active member of the Hartlepool Big Town Tidy Up group and goes out picking up litter every day.
The idea for walking 777,777 steps came about after Mitch’s daughter read about ex-rugby captain Kevin Sinfield who ran seven marathons in seven days in aid of the Motor Neurone Disease Association.
In preparation for his challenge, Mitch clocked up 30,550 steps, or 14.7 miles in one day last week.
Stephanie Steward, senior community fundraiser at the MND Association, said: “What an inspiring challenge Mitch is taking on!
"We are delighted to have his support and wish him a huge good luck for each and every one of his 777,777 steps.
"The funds he raises will help us to continue our vital work in providing support for people like him who are living with MND, campaigning to raise awareness of the disease and funding research to find treatments and ultimately a cure.”
Anyone who wishes to sponsor Mitch can do so at justgiving.com under ‘Mitch stepping 777,777 in 7 weeks’.