The Stories Behind London City Swim

Each week we talk to one person involved in London City Swim to find out their story, why they are involved and what they hope London City Swim will achieve.

This week as we count down to the event, we talk to Alison Maskell, whose father Tony died from MND.

Alison decided to do the event as it was a bit different from her usual runs. Alison heard about London City Swim and never having swum in open water, she thought it would be a different kind of challenge. Alison’s workplace (Phoenix Financial Services) is generous with matched giving as well, so she hopes fundraising will be easy.

Alison’s father Tony passed away in November 2010 after being diagnosed with MND in February of that year, following around eighteen months of symptoms.

Tony was an accountant at Lloyds of London. He was made redundant and retired early, and his redundancy package kept them going whilst he started doing some gardening work.

His MND started with a persistent cough, which the family found really annoying! This led to trouble swallowing, excess saliva, and from diagnosis his deterioration became very noticeable. Diagnosis came after ruling out a number of other conditions including throat cancer.

Alison had heard of MND but only because of Stephen Hawking, but what she didn’t realise was that his was not the normal prognosis.

Tony lost his speech, which was incredibly upsetting for him and them, he really struggled with not being able to communicate. He lost his mobility and although they had hoists and fittings installed to the bathroom at home, Alison’s mother still struggled to care for and lift him, so they had respite at a hospice once a week, so that he could bathe easily, and they could get a bit of support.

The family found great comfort and support from their local MND Association group, and Alison’s mother still attended regularly to support others who were living with MND until she moved away from the area last year to live closer to Alison.

MND affects every person differently and often has a profound effect on family members. The MND Association do a massive amount to support families like Tony’s and we are so pleased that Alison has chosen to swim this year in his memory.

Alison, we applaud and thank you for your actions and send love and support to your family.

You can donate to Alison’s Race Nation page here: