At around Christmas time in 2016, Victoria Brown, 23 from Leeds life turned upside down when she realised her mum had Motor Neurone Disease.

“We started noticing that something wasn’t quite right. We assumed she’d had one too many
drinks, but by February the doctors were concerned that she’d had a stroke. By April 2017 she was diagnosed with MND and lost most of her ability to speak and swallow” Victoria said.

Motor Neurone Disease is a degenerative condition that affects the brain and nerves. Over time, it causes weakness and loss of function in arms, legs, speech, ability to swallow and, eventually, breathing. The average life expectancy for someone with MND is 3-5 years. There is a 1 in 300 chance of getting MND and there is no cure.

“Mum has a type of MND called Progressive Bulbar Palsy, which notably sees weakness in speech and swallowing. It has an average life expectancy of 6 months to 3 years.” said Victoria.

Victoria decided to do something positive and raise money for the MND Association by signing up to take part in Dog Jog Leeds which takes place at Roundhay Park on Saturday 21st July. Dog Jog provides a brilliant opportunity for runners to accomplish their personal goals with their dogs; whether raising money for a worthwhile cause or simply keeping fit.

“As a family we used to take part in fun runs, and really enjoyed them, so it’s great to be taking part again. But this is an event that Oscar can be a part of, and that is so important to us.

One thing Mum misses about life before MND is walking Oscar around the park. When Mum was in hospital after the diagnosis she wept over how much she missed him, and even now he will sit as close to Mum’s wheelchair as possible. This event means Oscar can raise money for his mummy too.” Victoria explained.

Dog Jogs are all about a friendly, relaxed and fun atmosphere for everyone involved with no time limits or pressure. Each participant will receive a Doggy Bag jam-packed with goodies for both runner and dog to enjoy once they cross the finish line. There’s no other event like it in the UK.

The events are also a great way for participants to raise money for a charity they really care about, whether it be a dog-related charity or otherwise.

Victoria said; “Right from the start, the Motor Neurone Disease Association has been incredible.

They provided financial support for my mum, and equipment loans to help improve her quality of life when her condition is rapidly changing. They provide emotional support through their helpline and there is a very supportive community – Mum regularly attends groups with her local branch, which helps her not to feel so alone.”

However, Victoria isn’t so sure how much her four-legged friend Oscar is looking forward to his first ever Dog Jog!

“Oscar is our ten year old pug, and is completely spoilt. He joined our family as a six week old puppy, and helped my mum overcome a long battle with depression. He’s lazy, greedy, silly and utterly adored – and he won’t know what’s hit him on 21st July!”

Entries for the Dog Jog series are now open for all events throughout the UK. For more information and to find an event near you, visit the website: www.dogjog.co.uk.

To read more about Victoria’s story and donate, please visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/victoria-brown95