Birmingham Press Club director Anita Sharma-James has taken on a new role – as chair of the Worcestershire branch of the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA).
One of her first major tasks was to help organise the Association’s annual regional conference. This was held at The Holiday Inn, Bromsgrove, where guests includedex-serviceman, John Davidson, from Malvern, who is planning to row the Atlantic later this year to raise funds for the foundation of his hero, Doddie Weir, the former Scottish international rugby union star who suffers from the disease. He and the county branch of MNDA will be working together to raise funds and awareness of the disease.
The event also marked the official adoption by Bromsgrove District Council of the MND Charter in support of sufferers of the disease and their careers living in the area.
Two Bromsgrove councillors, Rachel Jenkins, an Independent who first proposed the authority should adopt it, and Margaret Sherrey, the Conservative portfolio holder for health and well-being who seconded her proposal, publicly signed the Charter on the council’s behalf at a reception on the eve of the conference.
By signing the Charter, the council has agreed to recognise the right of MND sufferers to an early diagnosis, access to quality care and treatments, to be treated with dignity and respect and to have the right to maximise their quality of life. It also recognises that their carers should be valued, respected, listened to and well-supported.
Anita, whose own mother died of the disease, said: “I would like to thank the council for adopting the Charter with solid cross-party backing and this is just the beginning of our partnership with you.”
MND, which causes six deaths in the UK every day, is a terminal neurological illness, which kills one-third of sufferers within a year of diagnosis and more than half within two years.
MNDA not only supports sufferers and their carers but is also leading the research to find a cure.
Photo shows (l-r) Councillor Margaret Sherrey, Councillor Rachel Jenkins and Anita Sharma-James