Fighting for cure to cruel disease

Maurice with pictures of his son with the same name, Maurice, and wife Mary. Standing by him is Gillian, who helps with the fundraising. Picture: ROB CAREW 399731_04

By Violet Li

An annual fundraiser for promoting awareness and supporting research for Huntington’s disease will be held at Selandra Rise Retirement Village in Clyde North on 27 May at 2.30pm.

It’s been organised by a Selandra resident who lost his wife and son to the fatal sickness.

Maurice Browne has been involved in the Huntington community for decades after discovering his wife carried the gene and passed it on to three of their six children.

“It [the disease] affects the central cortex of the brain. The main symptoms are neurological disorders, balance problems, depression, and confusion,” he said.

“Your reflexes slide down. Your swallow gets compromised. You choke because of the compromise.

“You suffer from personality disorders… [and] mood swings.”

The tragedy first hit the family in 2007 after his wife lost her battle to the disease. Seven years later, their eldest son also succumbed to the same illness.

Now, their son Philip and daughter Sharon are in the late stages of the disease, constantly in care.

“Sharon is in a very bad way at the moment. She’s lost weight, and she has trouble talking and walking,” Maurice said.

Maurice’s grandsons Mitchell, 34, and Philip, 37, have also been diagnosed with the disease.

“It’s a long journey. We’ve been through emotional roller coasters,” Maurice recalled.

“It’s one crisis after another, but we’ve got through so far. We’re sticking together.”

Maurice has organised many fundraising events since 2001 to help gain more exposure to the disease and funds for a cure.

“We raise money for Huntington’s Victoria in May to coincide with the Awareness Month, in the form of raffles, and auctions,” he said.

“All the money raised will go to research to find a cure.

“Last year we raised about $2700 and usually we raise close to $3000.”

Afternoon tea will be provided on the fundraising day. Any donation would be gratefully accepted.

Maurice and fundraising organiser Gillian Clegg would like to say a great thank you to Tobin Brothers Funerals Cranbourne branch manager Alan Muller who has donated generously to this year’s fundraiser.

For more information, call 5991 5526.