Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Support Will Open Up a Whole New World for Pat; Pounds 204k Boost for Patients

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Support Will Open Up a Whole New World for Pat; Pounds 204k Boost for Patients

Article excerpt

Byline: SARAH JUDD

FAMILIES affected by a devastating terminal illness have praised a charity for improving the high-quality care they already receive on Teesside.

People living with the rapidly progressive condition, motor neurone disease (MND), will benefit from a grant of pounds 204,485, awarded to South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust by the MND Association.

The four-year grant will help establish an MND Care Centre for those affected by the muscle-wasting condition that leaves people locked in a failing body, unable to move or talk.

The money will fund a care centre co-ordinator for three days a week, a dietician for one day a week, an occupational therapist for one day a week and psychological support for half a day a week.

Patricia Austen, 54, who suffers from MND, attended an event at James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, to celebrate the funding award.

The once active mum-of-three and teaching assistant, who loved to swim, is now confined to a wheelchair and unable to talk to her loving family, including husband Andrew, 56 and daughter Laura, 23.

Andrew, from Fairfield, Stockton, said: "It's heartbreaking to see her in a wheelchair. She used to have endless amounts of energy and was always very fit. One of the hardest things is communication. Patricia has difficulty speaking and she gets frustrated because she's trying to tell us something and we can't understand. She gets very emotional."

Laura, who went to school with the daughter of Willie Maddren, the former Boro player and manager whose life was claimed by MND, said: "Me and mum used to go to the gym four times a week and, at first, we thought she'd pulled a muscle in the gym.

"It took so long for her to get properly diagnosed with MND which was difficult."

In May 2008, one of Pat's fingers went crooked. Around the same time people started to notice that she was slurring her words. …

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