Up to 5,000 people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are living with MND at any time. Every day six people are diagnosed with the disease and six people die from it. There is no cure. It kills a third of people within a year and over half within two years of diagnosis.

The devastating effects of motor neurone disease (MND) are depicted in MND Association’s hard-hitting new launch film ‘The Ride’, the centrepiece of their new campaign asking supporters to help #TakeOverMND.

A birthday party full of laughter and love… an upcoming holiday…a young family… Luke has lots to celebrate. Without warning, motor neurone disease (MND) strikes – as a brutal rollercoaster ride – robbing Luke of his ability to walk, move and speak.

Two years later, Luke marks his 40th birthday from his wheelchair, unable to speak to guests and incapable of unwrapping his daughter’s gift.

In just two minutes, the viewer is immersed in a two-year journey from the emergence of the first symptoms of the devastating disease. Using special effects, a dramatic rollercoaster ride reflects the loss of physical control which MND causes, as well as the emotional turmoil which often follows the diagnosis of the disease.

The Ride, being rolled out across social media and online platforms during September, marks a new, bolder approach to awareness raising by the Association and has been developed with award-winning creative agency Don’t Panic. The Association is calling on people to hold an MND Takeover to show support for the charity and help #takeoverMND

Chris James (Director of External Affairs) said: “Motor neurone disease devastates lives, robbing those living with it of their ability to walk, move, communicate and ultimately to breathe. It pulls no punches. That’s what we believe The Ride does by putting the viewer in the position of someone who is living with MND. Unfortunately, that is the reality of the disease – any one of us could develop it at any stage of our adult lives.”

Dave Setters was diagnosed with MND in September 2012. He has been involved in the development of the new campaign and said: “MND is like a nuclear bomb hitting the family – and the progression of the disease can be so quick that you realise you’ve spent so much time dealing with changes as they’ve happened that you have forgotten to live the best quality of life you can. The Ride uses a dramatic format to capture that – the deterioration in Luke’s condition is swift, out of control and affects him and everyone around him.

“I am not typical of someone living with MND because of the slowness of my progression. But that’s given me the impetus to speak out because others can’t. We need to raise awareness of this disease. Crucially, it is far more common than people think. The lifetime risk of getting it stands at 1 in 300, about the same level as many better-known conditions. It kills six people every day and there’s no cure. We need to be able to fund research into treatment and ultimately a cure.”

The MND Association helps to fund co-ordinated support through a network of care centres, a growing team of volunteers and a seven day a week telephone helpline. £1.3 million of support grants were given to people living with MND and their carers last year. And the Association’s campaigning activity gives a voice to people living with MND which makes life better for them and their carers.

For more information about Don’t Panic: www.dontpaniclondon.com

For more information about MND: www.mndassociation.org/about-mnd/where-do-i-start/what-is-mnd/

For more information about MND Association: https://www.mndassociation.org/about-us/