59-year-old former Royal Mail manager and accomplished musician, Dave Foster was diagnosed with the debilitating disease in July 2019. His family and friends initiated the fundraising drive to raise awareness of the condition that affects up to 5,000 adults in the UK at any one time.
Family friend, Claude Mole started the campaign earlier this year by donating the proceeds from his book, A Day’s Cricket – The Scarborough Seagulls vs The Hull Penguins, which features illustrations by Mr Foster’s 10-year-old granddaughter, Tatiana Moore.
On February 23rd, Mr Foster’s nephew, Danny was part of a group of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue employees and friends who walked from Ackworth Rugby League Club to Headingley. The group walked 20 miles in six hours and raised almost £5000 for the MNDA and the Leeds Rhino Foundation that has been set up to support former player, 37-year-old Rob Burrow who was diagnosed with the disease in December 2019.
In addition, Mr Foster’s daughter and son in law, Victoria and Luke Cox are hoping to raise over £1,000 between them through a coffee morning organised by Victoria and a friend and a raffle to win a room being decorated by painter and decorator, Luke.
Before his diagnosis, Mr Foster, a talented cornet and saxophone player was made aware of the benefits his music could have on those living with Dementia. Following an initial trial at a local care home, it soon became apparent to him and the carers how beneficial it was. Mr Foster went on to play at over 67 Care Homes over a two year period and he recorded his experiences in a paper entitled ‘Music and Dementia’ with Mr Mole.
Mr Foster is currently planning a tour of 13 care homes to leave a copy of the ‘Music and Dementia’ paper along with a copy of a DVD that includes a rendition of The Last post by Mr Foster with military musician Nick Davey. “Unfortunately, I am no longer able to play the instruments that I used to play to entertain people in the homes, but I would like to leave them with a reminder that residents and their families might appreciate.”
Always busy, keen DIY fan Mr Foster also played an active role in the annual Shiptonthorpe panto and was an original member of the Ravens Morris Steampunk Group that performed to great acclaim throughout Yorkshire. On one occasion, despite having taken a serious fall he bravely stood up to the mark and performed in the Shiptonthorpe Heritage Project production ‘The Armistice 1918′ that raised £400 for All Saints Church in Shiptonthorpe.
Mr Foster remains positive in spite of his illness and focusses on what he can do, rather than what he can’t. “Although my voice has been compromised and speech is difficult, I can still write my daily ‘To Do’ list and it’s important that people understand that you can still do things. I’m still up for the challenges that I face daily and am so grateful for the continued help and support of all of my family and friends,” he concludes.
Motor neurone disease (MND) describes a group of diseases that affect the nerves (motor neurones) in the brain and spinal cord that tell your muscles what to do. MND is life-shortening and there is no cure. Although the disease will progress, symptoms can be managed to help achieve the best possible quality of life. The Motor Neurone Disease Association improves care and support for people with MND, their families and carers. If you would like more information, or to donate, please visit www.mndassociation.org.
There is a free Focus Event for people and families living with MND at The Principal Hotel, York, on Saturday 13 June 2020 between10am and 4pm. You can register to attend here www.mndassociation.org/regionalevents.
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