It was an emotional day at BBC Radio Cumbria’s Make A Difference Awards yesterday, which I had the privilege of attending in the capacity of Daina’s niece and publisher. The awards recognise members of the local community who go out of their way to make a positive difference, both within their community, and in the world at large.
Daina was nominated in the Fundraiser category, and the tension was high as the winner was announced. The judge, Olympic badminton player Lauren Smith, was moved to tears as she made the announcement, as was Daina, her daughter Helen, and I!
Daina’s book, My Life with MND
The award recognises Daina’s astounding achievement in writing a memoir of her life with the degenerative neurological condition, Motor Neurone Disease (MND). It tells the story of her experience with the disease, from her early symptoms through diagnosis and treatment. ‘Treatment,’ in her case, means learning to adapt to life with the condition, for which there is no known cure.
One such adaptation has been learning to use the high-tech communication device, which enables her to write using cutting-edge ‘eye gaze’ technology. Hers is a truly inspirational story, no matter how bleak the situation may seem at times, she always finds reasons to keep fighting, and continue raising awareness and vital funds for MND research. Furthermore, she has never lost her playful sense of humour and fighting spirit!
Since its release in December last year, Daina’s book has been helping people living with MND in several different ways:
- As a resource for the newly diagnosed and their friends and families.
- As a learning resource for nurses on how to give better care to people with MND.
- As a fundraiser for the MND Association: Daina has been donating all of her royalties to fund further research into the condition.
I want to offer Daina my heartfelt congratulations once again! You can find the book in Carlisle and Penrith Libraries, in Bookends Carlisle and online at Waterstones.com, Barnesandnoble.com and Amazon (where the paperback is currently half price):