The MND Association was founded in 1979 by a group of volunteers with experience of living with or caring for someone with MND. Since then, we have grown significantly, with an ever-increasing community of volunteers, supporters and staff, all sharing the same goal – to support people with MND and everyone who cares for them. We are the only national charity in England, Wales and Northern Ireland focused on MND care, research and campaigning.
Our vision is ‘A world free from MND’ and our mission is threefold:
• We improve care and support for people with MND, their families and carers.
• We fund and promote research that leads to new understanding and treatments, and brings us closer to a cure for MND.
• We campaign and raise awareness so the needs of people with MND and everyone who cares for them are recognised and addressed by wider society.
STEPHEN HAWKING FOUNDATION
In 1963, Hawking contracted MND and was given two years to live. The Stephen Hawking Foundation exists to promote the study of Cosmology and Astrophysics, research into Motor Neurone Disease and to facilitate those working in this area and their care. This year Professor Stephen Hawking is celebrating his 75 Birthday.
Project MinE is an international genetics project that is analysing DNA from people with MND in great detail. While a small number of MND cases are inherited, the vast majority (at least 90%) are thought to be caused by a combination of many subtle genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors. The main goal of Project MinE is to find out more about these subtle genetic risk factors, using a technique called whole genome sequencing. This will help us to understand more about how MND develops and will speed up the search for effective new treatments.
Project MinE has now sequenced around 8,000 DNA samples from 17 countries around the world, out of a target of 22,500 samples. Here in the UK, we have contributed over 1,800 samples through our UK MND DNA Bank. The project has already discovered several new genes linked to MND. With gene-hunting research, more is definitely better, so additional funds raised through the London City Swim will help us to contribute even more samples to this important work.