Family of Buckhurst Hill man lost to MND raise £50,000 in the years since his death
PUBLISHED: 07:00 06 November 2020
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.
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.
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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.”
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