Friday, 9 November 2007

Kick Off!

Motor Neurone Disease is a debilitating neurological condition that affect the nerves in the brain and spinal stem that control voluntary muscles. As the nerves die out, the muscles waste and atrophy, spreading from the hands and feet to the arms and legs. Speaking and swallowing can also be impaired. Once the diaphragm is affected, breathing is restricted. Motor Neurone Disease is fatal and has a prognosis of two to five years. There is no cure. There is no treatment.

Two months ago I was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease.

However, there is some hope. Research has been progressing rapidly and the identification of Riluzole as a medication to extend lifespan by three to six months has thrown up many clues and avenues for research into how this disease is acquired and how pharmaceuticals can be used to treat, slow and finally halt the progression of symptoms.

Since diagnosis, I have been touched by the number of people who have offered their help and heartbroken by the response I have to give, "There's nothing we can do." Well, I've decided we've got to do something. Helping the researchers of this condition may help me. It may not. But I'd like to help whoever is diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in future.

On the weekend of 3 and 4 May 2008, I am going to cycle from Amsterdam in the Netherlands to London in the United Kingdom and hoping to be sponsored with all funds being donated to Motor Neurone Disease research. But I need your help. I can't train, organise, fundraise and publicise alone. So please let me know if you are able to help out with the following tasks.

- Participate

Join me on the ride! I'd love to get a huge crew on the ride as well. Come on a racer, een omafiets, a chopper! The kicker is that it really isn't that far! From the Dam to Hoek van Holland to meet the ferry is 80 km and from Harwich to London is 130 km. That may sound daunting at first, but I did the Round the Bay in a Day in Melbourne off a couple of months training and that's 210 km. With this one, you get an nap in the middle!

It can be a long way to Amsterdam though, so if you are interested in a solidarity ride in another part of the world (New Zealand, Australia, I'm looking in your direction), let me know! Of course, that will mean you miss out the Keukenhof gardens in full Dutch tulip bloom and Koninginnedag party in Amsterdam a few days before, which is officially the maddest national holiday ever.

- Support

If the idea of all that exercise makes you tired, we'll need drivers and bike techs on the day. If you are comfortable driving on the right one day and on the left the next, you are just the person we are looking for.

I am on my way back home to New Zealand soon, so it would be fantastic to have local ride directors - one for the Netherlands and one for the UK - who can lock down the route and coordinate with the ferry and accommodation in Harwich.

Everyone will want to know what's going on too, so if someone is a whiz at communication, keeping a website up to date and maybe designing a poster or two, that would be ace!

- Billet

We'll need places to sleep and prepare and rest at either end of the race. If you can offer a spare room, bed, couch or particularly soft bath, get in touch!

- Fund raise

Spread the word and coordinate fund-raising activities. Would someone in your family, workplace, club or church like to ride with us? Could you hold a quiz night or cake stall to raise some money for us? Does your employer have a staff foundation or charity arm that can help out?

- Donate

Finally, if you can contribute or sponsor a rider, please let me know. At the moment I am hoping to work with the MND Association in the UK, which appears more research based than those in NZ and Australia, but once we know exactly where we can direct your donations, we'll let you know!

So, please get in touch, get involved, get training and pass this email along!

You can keep up to date on what is happening at Please send all emails to



越洋飘翎 said...

Mate, we will always support you. Let us know if there is anything we can help in Melbourne and we are happy to donate once you pass on the information.

All the best.

Hongwei & Shan (Melbourne)

Maureen said...

Dear Duncan,
I was informed about your blog through a mutual friend of ours. My family has also been touched by MND and find it hard to accept that a cure is yet to be found.
Nevertheless, I read your blog and it gives us hope. I am so happy and excited about your initiative! It is a brilliant idea! Please count me in! I am located in the Netherlands and will help with everything I can.
Will keep in touch!

klo said...

Duncan, my mate Chris from Gibraltar is most likely going to be doing this race with Eric and I for you. We are going to rally on the MND chapter in Gib to donate as well. Its amazing what happens when someone you love needs your help. Yep, its like following the yellow brick road man!
love you Kazzalite xx