After the Ice Bucket Challenge: How Motor Neurone Disease charities are raising funds

The 'Drink Tea for MND' events are taking place across the country this month

drink, tea, ice, bucket, challenge, motor, neurone, disease

File photo. Image: Elise Amendola / AP/Press Association Images

In June two years ago, a fundraising initiative started in the United States that went on to grab the attention of almost the entire world.

In the 'Ice Bucket Challenge', people were encouraged to pour a bucket of ice cold water over their head and donate money to Motor Neurone Disease charities.

Ultimately, hundreds of millions of euro was raised for the charities.

Here in Ireland, the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association (IMNDA) said they had received €1.6m in donations as a result of the challenge by December 2014.

The money allowed expansion of services and investment in staff & equipment, as well as raising awareness of the disease.

However, with the Ice Bucket Challenge long gone, those same charities have gone back to struggling to find funds and maintain services - and the IMNDA is no different.

This month, they are hosting events called ‘Drink Tea for MND’ in an attempt to raise much needed funds.

In the US, the disease is known as ALS or 'Lou Gherig’s disease', after the baseball player.

However, it has also been described as the '1,000 day disease'. People are generally given a three-year life expectancy from diagnosis.

Andrew Brennan is 33-years-old and in February 2015, his life change forever with an MND diagnosis.

"It was like somebody just hit me with a sledgehammer," he explained. "I had everything ahead of me, and she just crushed it".

Andrew met Yvonne when they were teenagers. They have been together for 14 years. They have two daughters - Aoife is three-years-old, and Sophie is 20 months.  

"The kids are fantastic - they're what gets me out of bed in the morning," Andrew said. "In a way I'm happy they're a bit young, because I don't know if I have it in me to explain it to them".

The IMNDA needs €1.7m a year to keep doors open and make sure people like Andrew get support they need.

Maeve Leahy from the Association explained why the their fundraising campaigns are so important.

"We have three unbelievable nurses that travel around the whole of Ireland," she said. "They go into people homes, and they help people put these things in place before they know they're going to need them."

Lift a cup with Andrew this June by ordering your Supervalu Tea pack now and organise your own Drink Tea for MND. Simply email [email protected] or visit www.imnda.ie for more. If you can’t organise a tea day, text MND to 50300 and donate €2.