Friday, 10 January 2014

Resolutions and Solutions.

The New Year brings new challenges and this, for me, coincides with my resolution to continue to walk unaided.
"Every day is a battle and every day I win! "
It is becoming increasingly difficult for me to walk, stand and manoeuvre myself. Being a realist I appreciate that in the near future things will change and that's fine, I'll be ready. A big part of dealing with a progressive condition is preparation and organisation, and that is what I and my wife have set out to do in 2014.

It seems that last year I left a positive impression on lots of my family and friends and it now transpires that more people would like to raise awareness and funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign. My wife, Michelle and I are gob smacked and overwhelmed by this.It is very humbling, thank you.

So I started 2014 by jumping straight in to assist the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign carry out a interview about disability and relationships. I am extremely lucky that I have a fantastic relationship with Michelle and to help with this was easy.(watch out for the conclusive article)

This year I would also like to commit and continue my work with Tanvi vyas and the Trailblazer team, I put these people on a pedestal and I'm very proud to be involved with this group of young dynamic people that are the Muscular Dystrophy Trailblazers. Taking on lots of issues for ALL disabled people, and trust me, Trailblazers take things to the top... Parliament! I was so lucky to get involved last year in taking on parliamentarians in the House of Commons regarding 'Access to Grass Roots Sports'; a 2013 highlight for me.

Very soon I shall be starting my voluntary role as an Advocacy Ambassador for the charity. I would like to think that with my experience of the condition, knowledge and positive outlook that I could be in a position to help others. I know full well it will be a challenge and it's one I'm prepared to accept.

So going back to the people who've been influenced through the awareness i've been trying to raise, people close to me are taking action this year. Michelle and I cannot stress enough how very humbling this is.
Firstly I would like to tell you about, my daughter, Lucie... 
Lucie is 21yrs old and somewhere  between the 28 February - 2 March Lucie will be one of the one hundred sky divers jumping for the Muscular Dystrophy campaign. Here is what my amazing daughters 'Just Giving' page says...
"For those of you who may or may not know, Muscular Dystrophy is a charity close to my heart, my dad, Martin Hywood suffers from Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy, he struggles on a daily basis but never moans. Alongside him helping him every step of the way is my step mum, Michelle Hywood, Michelle helps and supports Martin in every way, I also have two sisters, Olivia and Skye. They are both young and see and understand the daily tasks Martin faces however as a family we get by and enjoy every day! This fund raising event is for me to give a little back in hope that they will soon find a cure so people like my dad don't have to suffer with the pain he does daily. Any donation big or small is one step closer to a cure"
Lucie is a level 3 qualified hairdresser and is now offering a 'donation day' of hairdressing for her sponsorship. Get in touch with Lucie at 'Lucie's Home Hair' on Facebook, she is amazing!

Everything I do and the amount I push myself is because of my family and friends, I have three daughters that I would like to walk down the aisle should the time come, Lucies courage in this challenge pushes me on even more and I am very proud of her for that.

Marie Johnson is a family friend; I was lucky enough that Marie joined me on a blog last year regarding respite care, something Marie knows lots about. This year Marie is running Milton Keynes Marathon on May 5th, Marie says...
"I was there to watch you walk to the finish of your mile and I could see the combination of pain, elation and sheer determination. It made me realise that I take my body for granted, just expecting it to do the things I want and 99.9% of the time it delivers! So I thought if you can push yourself to the limit of your ability and succeed why am I not doing the same- I have a fit and healthy body, why am I not making the most of it?!
Also, I have read your blogs and Facebook posts and realise that there can never be enough publicity to raise awareness and try to find a cure, so it would be a privilege to wear the MDC vest and hopefully raise some cash along the way. This is a big thing for me, I have only been running for two years, so I needed something that I can relate to and feel passionate about to get me through to the 26.2mile finish line"

Marie has always been a great supporter of anything I do on social media and she was right on the finish line at my 'Mile for Muscles' with a massive smile and a tear in her eye.

Mark Sammon is another family friend and a great supporter, as you'll see from Marks fund raising page, he thinks he's quite a comedian with reference to my football team.

"So I know this bloke called Martin Hywood. I've known Martin for a good few years and he suffers from Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy (he also suffers from supporting Leeds Utd, but if going to watch them play doesn't cure you, nothing will...)

The special thing about Martin is he does things. Sounds pretty simple, but then the difficult things often do. 

Martin does things, he campaigns, he writes, he lobbies in Parliament, he earns awards and ambassadorial roles and he walks. For the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign he did his own personal marathon, he walked a mile. 

Martin also does all the everyday stuff, married to Michelle, dad to Lucie, Olivia and Skye, works full time and goes to watch Leeds play (I know, I know...)

But mostly he inspires. He’s inspired me to run a marathon.

So because I find everything Martin does pretty bloody amazing I also want to do stuff, I want to run the London Marathon for the cause Martin supports with every fibre of his being – The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign and I’d like you all to do stuff too." 

Cheers Mark!

Running the London Marathon again this year is our kid, Andrew Hywood! I cannot speak too much about Andrew without getting too emotional, he works extremely hard for the whole family, Andrew describes why he does it very precisely and directly to the point... "My brothers are like my best friends, they mean the world to me, I'm sure anyone reading this would want to help their best friends too, if they could."
(Andrew also has a family Mararthon fund raising party on March 8th, details to follow)  
Enough said, thanks mate.

Another big one, my best friend Dean Coletta and his wife Karla are swimming across Lake Windermere in May this year. I'm 40yrs old now and Dean and I have been mates since we were 7yrs old! This is a very big challenge and we cannot thank our best friends enough.

So we now have a little 'Team Hywood' going on and once again I need to step up to the plate too.
In 2014 I will be taking on two HUGE challenges.
Firstly I'm going to 'Move a Mile for Muscles' again but this year with someone who inspires me, a joint adventure between myself and GB basketball player, Freya Levy. Freya also has a form of Muscular Dystrophy and has always supported me in everything I do and vice versa. Like last year the location will be special and significant, watch this space!   

Finally, my biggest challenge to date is to help a young lad and his family.
Conrad is a little boy who lives with his family in Pontefract, West Yorkshire.
Clair, Conrad's mum told me a little bit about Conrad, his condition and his diagnosis
"We only found out in June 2013 that Conrad had Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy as he suffers from seizures & the bloods for his liver kept coming back high but never went back down so that lead to more blood tests like Ck & DNA. He's had 2 operations to straighten both his eyes, an operation on his kidney as it was enlarged also he had a biopsy at the same time as his kidney op and that was when he got his diagnosis" 

Conrad was just 4 years old when diagnosed and turned 5 years old in Sept.

I hear lots of stories of Duchenne and every one of them affects me and pushes me on to help.

How can we help Conrad?

As you may well know, I'm a Leeds fan (as is Conrad's dad, Richard) and as previously mentioned Conrad's family reside in West Yorkshire. So I have put my head together with Matt Mckeith, site creator, editor, writer and podcaster of 'Right In The Gary Kellys' a Leeds United Fanzine and we have come up with a plan that is in it's very early stages.

We propose a friendly charity football match for 'Conrad's DMD' against another Leeds United fanzine 'The Square Ball' . This would be a major event in Leeds (hopefully at Elland Road or Thorp Arch) Our proposal has also been backed by actor, Twitter follower and fellow Leeds fan, Ralph Ineson.  

As I say, it's in its infancy stages, but it's being backed up more and more as it gets talked about on social media and the like, Conrad's family need help, support to know that people care and that they are not alone. 
(Thank you to Clair and Richard for letting me help and talk about Conrad)

So that's it, that's how we plan to go into 2014; with an absolute bombardment of support, grit and determination.
I have so many reasons to keep pushing against my own condition and most are in the picture below, cheers!

My wife, our daughters and our god children.
Follow me on twitter @hywoodmartin and follow The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign @TargetMD

Thank you all for your continued, enthusiastic and appreciated support 

"Our attitude towards life determines life's attitude towards us."

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