Family raise over £300,000 in six months in honour of loving dad and former Coventry Rugby Club player - The Solihull Observer

Family raise over £300,000 in six months in honour of loving dad and former Coventry Rugby Club player

Solihull Editorial 9th May, 2024   0

THE FAMILY of a former professional rugby player has vowed to turn the negative into a positive and has raised over a quarter of a million in four months to help others going through a similar fate.

Matt Gallagher, from Solihull, and his family were in ‘complete shock’ when he was diagnosed with Motor Neurones Disease (MND) in October.

At present there is no cure for the disease which affects the nerves in the brain and spinal cord known as motor neurones and can cause muscles to weaken, stiffen and waste, which can affect how people walk, talk, eat, drink and breathe.

Despite the challenge, the former Coventry Rugby Club player and his family have chosen to face it head-on with positivity and determination.

The Matt Gallagher Foundation has been set up in honour of the 50-year-old and it has joined forces with other MND charities like “My Name5 Doddie” (MND5) and the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA).

The Foundation aims to help others like Matt who need help to fund specialist equipment to help make day to day life a bit easier and to raise awareness about MND.

Matt’s daughter and the charity manager, Hollie-Mae, told The Observer the funds will also be used to help patients across the Midlands get better care.

She said: “Shockingly, a recent conversation with Matt’s MND nurse highlighted a stark disparity in MND-trained nurses.

“There are just three, two of which are part-time, caring for 278 MND patients across the West Midlands. Scotland has 15 nurses caring for 400 MND patients.

“This is a shocking statistic that we are determined to change. By doing so, we will help to ensure better care for MND patients across the local Midlands area.

“The foundation’s focus is to help those in need now, whether that be a deposit for a mobility car, helping fund a wet room or even a specialised toilet to help these warriors keep their dignity. Therefore, every event will raise awareness and contribute to the fundraising efforts for this highly deserving cause.”

The Foundation held its first fundraising event in January – an under-18s rugby match, in association with Solihull School, where £4,345 was raised.

The Foundation sent these funds to a member of the MND community to put towards a deposit for their mobility car, and to cover the costs of a rental car in the meantime.

Hollie-Mae said: “Beyond this, we’ve had donations of nearly £9,000 and at a Coventry Former Players event raising nearly £5,000. Some of this money has already been allocated to a wet room for a local MND patient.

“Also, friends, and family made amazing efforts to raise over £5,600 for the MNDA, during January’s 15,000 steps a day challenge.”

However, the fundraising highlight was The Matt Gallagher Foundation Ball, which was held earlier this month where £218,000 was raised.

For more search for The Matt Gallagher Foundation on Facebook and Instagram.

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