Faith sustains family

HOPE: Muswellbrook man Graham Gageler, pictured with his daughter Rachel, says his faith enables him to have a positive outlook on life for him and his family, despite suffering from motor neurone disease. This week is MND Week to help raise awareness and funds for the condition.
HOPE: Muswellbrook man Graham Gageler, pictured with his daughter Rachel, says his faith enables him to have a positive outlook on life for him and his family, despite suffering from motor neurone disease. This week is MND Week to help raise awareness and funds for the condition.

There is no known cause or cure.

Motor neurone disease is a crippling condition that leaves an active mind in a motionless body.

For the 1400 people diagnosed with the disease in Australia, every day life is a challenge.

Muswellbrook family man Graham Gageler is an MND sufferer, but thanks to his incredible positive outlook on life you would never truly know the effects the disease is having on him.

There are the physical signs, like his electronic wheelchair and restricted limb movement, but overall Mr Gageler is a wonderful, fun-loving man.

This week is Motor Neurone Disease Week, established by Motor Neurone Disease Australia to help promote awareness and further research into the disease.

Mr Gageler was first diagnosed with MND in 2008 after noticing small signs of weakness.

Small, everyday tasks such as doing up buttons on his work shirt with his left hand and turning down the music on the car radio were becoming a challenge.

Mr Gageler required many consultations with two neurologists, one in Maitland and another in Sydney, before the cause was detected.

“It took about 18 months to diagnose and basically involved eliminating everything else,” Mr Gageler said.

For Mr Gageler and his family, wife Janene and five children Rachel, Jordan, Danielle, Mitchell and Amy, MND Week is a chance to not only highlight the condition, but say thanks to everyone for their continuing support.

“(MND) not only affects the sufferer but there are so many more people around them that take it on too,” Mr Gageler said.

The work MND Australia does for the 1400 sufferers is also highlighted during the week.

“I just got my new wheelchair yesterday from [government organisation] Enable,” Mr Gageler said.

“In the meantime, MND Australia loaned me a wheelchair and have been great while waiting for other equipment to arrive.

“They also have a support person in Newcastle that comes up regularly.”

For the Gageler family and so many other sufferers, their carers, family and friends, MND continues to exists well beyond MND Week.

Last year, 19-year-old Rachel coordinated two fund-raising events for her dad, with the help of Subzero Services and St Joseph’s High School, Aberdeen, and successfully raised close to $50,000 for MND research.

Research shows that one Australian every week dies from MND and another is diagnosed.

With these figures, coupled with not having a cure or cause, the Gagelers are hoping everyone shows their support for MND this week and into the future.

For more information on MND week or MND Australia, visit www.mnd aust.asn.au.