MARK MADDOX lived for football, but now he’s dying. The once fit and healthy player was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in his late 30s and with a young family.
MND can strike anyone at any time. It’s progressive and terminal, attacking the nervous system and stopping messages from reaching the muscles.
There is no cure. It has started to affect the way Mark walks and talks. He knows it won’t be long before he is in a wheelchair. Half of those diagnosed with MND die within 14 months.
Time is running out for Mark, but he’s on a mission to raise awareness of MND and show people what can be achieved in the face of adversity.
Since his diagnosis just before Christmas 2010, he has run two marathons, sky-dived and sung about the disease in two albums with his band. Now, he is turning to the football community for help.
As a player, Mark made more than 300 appearances and now, in a campaign with the Motor Neurone Disease Association, he is hoping to make another 300 appearances at football grounds this season in awareness posters published in matchday programmes.
Brentford Football Club is supporting Football v MND on Tuesday by donating space in their programme for the match against Tranmere Rovers.
Janis Parks, of the West London & Middlesex branch said: “We give practical help and support to people living with MND, their families and their carers in our local area.
“MND is a devastating disease, and volunteers from our branch do everything they can to improve the quality of life for people with MND as much as is possible.”
Anyone not able to attend the game can still get involved by taking part in Mark’s Crossbar Challenge.
For more information about the Football v MND campaign and to watch videos of Mark and his story, see www.mndassociation.org/football
Julia Mepham, a member of the West London and Middlesex branch, contacted Brentford FC about joining the Football V MND campaign.
Her father, Roy, was passionate about football from an early age. As a teenager, he signed with Brentford juniors and played for them for two seasons.
He was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2009 at the age of 62 and died 13 months later on December 1, 2010.