Councillors in Mid and East Antrim are helping to shine a light on the challenges facing those living with motor neurone disease (MND).
Earlier this year, the local authority formally adopted the MND Charter in support of local people living with the condition, and their carers.
MND is a fatal, rapidly progressing disease that can leave people locked in a failing body, unable to move, talk and eventually breathe.
It kills around a third of people within a year of diagnosis, and more than half within two years. There is no cure.
Deputy Mayor of MEA, Cllr Cheryl Johnston, and fellow elected member Cllr Timothy Gaston were guests at an event last week in the Rosspark Hotel, organised by the MND Association.
“As a Council, we can play a significant role in making the vision and aims of the MND Charter a reality," Cllr Johnston said.
“By adopting the Charter, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council committed to increasing awareness of MND.
“This is a devastating, complex disease and particularly difficult to manage.
“As outlined in our Putting People First Community Plan, the health and wellbeing of all our citizens is paramount to Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.
“If we can get it right for MND, we can get it right for residents with other neurological conditions and disabilities too.
“The Charter was a statement of the respect, care and support that people living with MND and their carers deserve and should expect, and myself and my Council colleagues will continue to do all that we can to assist those living with MND and their families.”
Councillor Gaston added: “I am proud to have been able to lead on the adoption of the MND Charter in Mid and East Antrim, and to have initially proposed its implementation.
“I was honoured to be invited along to today’s event to meet many of those whose lives have been so deeply affected by this cruel disease.
“The signing of the MND Charter was just the first step, and I will continue to work hard to support in any way I can those with MNDand their loved ones.
“It is vital more people are aware of the needs of people with MND so those living with this devastating disease can maximise their quality of life and die with dignity.
“The MND journey is one nobody should ever face alone. I want to thank the MND Association for all of their incredible and inspirational work and support.”
Chris James, Director of External Affairs for the MND Association said: “The importance of the MND Charter is undeniable.
“We want everyone to be clear that access to the right care, in the right place, at the right time, as set out in our Charter, can transform lives.”
The five points of the Charter are:
1. The right to an early diagnosis and information.
2. The right to access quality care and treatments.
3. The right to be treated as individuals and with dignity and respect.
4. The right to maximise their quality of life.
5. Carers of people with MND have the right to be valued, respected, listened to and well-supported.
For more information visit www.mndassociation.org/mndcharter