Mark Houston, organiser of GNFL’s MND round, blown away by support and urges everyone to ‘keep up the fight’

Reuben CarderGeraldton Guardian
Mark Houston, who lost his mother to motor neurone disease, says he hopes the MND round will be his legacy.
Camera IconMark Houston, who lost his mother to motor neurone disease, says he hopes the MND round will be his legacy. Credit: Lisa Favazzo

The organiser of the Geraldton footy league’s motor neurone disease round, whose own mother succumbed to the deadly disease, has been blown away by the local support for the big freeze initiative — including his own club pledging to donate $100 for every goal they score tomorrow.

Mark Houston, who lost his mother, Lorelle Houston, to MND after she was diagnosed with the illness in 2019 and died within months, said he appreciated the support from Chapman Valley and the Great Northern Football League for a campaign he hoped would be his legacy.

Houston said it had been traumatic losing his mum, especially since they were separated by distance, with her living in Mandurah and him based in Geraldton.

“She only survived nine months from when she was diagnosed,” he said.

“That was the hardest thing for Mum, having to live with that knowledge that no matter how bad they seemed at the time, they were only going to get worse.

“I couldn’t help her while she was alive.

“I can do a little bit now she’s gone.

“I think about Mum every day, and when you hear of other MND sufferers your heart goes out to them.

“All you can do is be there for the sufferer and, once they’re gone, not forget and try to keep up the fundraising fight.”

Lorelle Houston.
Camera IconLorelle Houston. Credit: Courtesy Mark Houston.

Making the fight more urgent, Houston said he had seen people in their 20s and 30s, who had families to take care of, suffering from the disease, which has no known cure, and a prognosis of around two years.

“With MND there’s no cure,” he said.

“There’s no real treatment, either, it’s just trying to provide some quality of life, and that’s what the fundraising does for people.

“The severity of it shocks people, and it affects all sorts of people.

“From doing this I have found out there are other people from within our club that have lost people to MND as well.”

“It’s great the club and the GNFL have been able to get behind it and support the idea.

“It takes away your ability to be able to walk and talk, and eventually to be able to breathe.

“Fortunately they believe it’s not hereditary. It’s not something I’ve got hanging over my shoulder, but it makes you value your life a bit more.”

Valley president Grant Woodhams said Houston had been a “long and faithful servant” and the club was happy to do whatever it could to support the round.

The Geraldton Sporting Aboriginal Corporation has also sponsored the round.

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