Search

Family of Buckhurst Hill man lost to MND raise £50,000 in the years since his death

PUBLISHED: 07:00 06 November 2020

L-R: Russell's brother Lawrence Shafier, Peter Exton and husband and wife Ray and Claire Bloom. Picture: Claire Bloom

L-R: Russell's brother Lawrence Shafier, Peter Exton and husband and wife Ray and Claire Bloom. Picture: Claire Bloom

Archant

A Buckhurst Hill family have raised more than £50,000 for research into motor neurone disease (MND) in the years since losing a brother to the illness.

Russell's parents Jackie and Victor have also been involved in fundraising efforts, organising sponsored walks and afternoon teas to help fund MND research. Picture: Claire BloomRussell's parents Jackie and Victor have also been involved in fundraising efforts, organising sponsored walks and afternoon teas to help fund MND research. Picture: Claire Bloom

The family of Russell Shafier — who died in 2012 aged just 38 — have dedicated themselves to the disease in the years since his death.

Russell’s sister Claire Bloom spoke to the Recorder about their efforts: “Each year since Russell died my brother Lawrence, his wife Paula and I have been taking part in challenges and asking for sponsorship in return. My parents, Jackie and Victor, have organised sponsored walks and afternoon teas all to raise much needed funds for research.”

While this year’s efforts have seen the family smash the £50,000 mark, Russell’s tribute fund — currently at £50,535.85 — is the product of years of hard work.

This year Lawrence did the virtual London Marathon, while Paula is completing a virtual 874-mile walk from Lands End to John O’Groats.

GB triathlete Claire Bloom is part of a Woodford family which has raised more than £50,000 for Motor Neurone Disease research, after losing her brother Russell Shafier to the illness in 2012. Picture: Claire BloomGB triathlete Claire Bloom is part of a Woodford family which has raised more than £50,000 for Motor Neurone Disease research, after losing her brother Russell Shafier to the illness in 2012. Picture: Claire Bloom

You may also want to watch:

Claire took part in the Motor Neurone Disease Association Mission 5000 challenge, which asked people to cover 5,000 miles, one for each person living with MND in the UK.

Taking place across five weeks until October 18, a total of 44,445 miles were completed, with GB triathlete Claire accounting for 250 of those, finishing with a half marathon.

She did, however, have a helping hand as members of her online fitness classes got in on the act: “They got one mile for every workout completed that week. They smashed it and did 438 miles, making our total 688 miles!”

Claire added a week’s wages to this to bring her fundraising total to £4,705.

Reaching this milestone will not temper fundraising efforts, Claire said, as the personal tragedy of losing Russell continues to drive the family on. “You can turn a blind eye, or you can try to help other families so they don’t have to suffer as we did.”

Russell’s premature death saw him leave behind his wife Lence, as well as children Bobby and Lucy, who were five and seven at the time.

Claire explained that although extensive research continues to go into MND, its cause remains unknown, making a cure almost impossible. “The only way to find answers is to put money into it.”


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ilford Recorder. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Ilford Recorder