Tesco proves that ‘every little helps’ the MND Association

We can all agree 2020 has been different. For all of us. In all sorts of ways. Especially for those affected by motor neurone disease (MND).

Steve’s impassioned story encapsulates something that has touched many of us at his local branch, and with his permission he has asked for this to be shared to highlight this horrible disease.

When Steve’s mum was first diagnosed with MND in September 2019, it was naturally a complete shock. Their family’s response was reflective of many people who simply haven’t even heard of MND. So it is only natural for everyone touched by such a diagnosis to respond “I didn’t really know anything about it.”

When people are first given a diagnosis of a terminal illness, it’s natural that everyone’s responses will be different. Many people want to keep their diagnosis of MND private or restricted within a tightly controlled circle, especially in the initial stages. It’s rightly a private matter and they want time to come to terms with themselves and at their own pace. For others, or simply when they are ready, the initial shock fuels a passion of the unjustness of it all that turns into “I want to do something about this, because something needs to change.” That is usually where the family and friends step in to support and do something amazing! They are the ones that are the lifeblood for our organisation to help us to assist others who will sadly follow the same path, until a cure is found.

Steve wanted to do something about it. Given his long-term position with Tesco, and knowing their corporate social responsibility (CSR) and dedication to supporting charities, he put the wheels in motion to set up an “Awareness Day” at Shoreham Extra Holmbush Centre, one of the largest Tesco branches in the country, based right down here in Sussex. The date planned, was Easter 2020.

Sadly, covid had other ideas…

It’s been a challenging year for Steve and his family. Due to the progression of MND, Steve’s mum can’t walk any more, and can hardly talk and is now in a care home. Given the current restrictions in place due to covid, he can barely see his mum now. Visits are currently, for one person at a time, every two weeks for half an hour maximum. This means, between Steve, his two sisters, and his mum’s brother, they only get half an hour each, every two months!!

In September this year, he got a call from one of his managers asking to meet with him in their office. On arrival he was confronted with several other managers. Steve was then handed an envelope. To his utter stunned amazement, he was handed a cheque for £220! It had been raised from a staff shop sale on behalf of MND, by his colleagues, as they knew his awareness day had been cancelled. Steve genuinely had no idea they had been planning this, and was overwhelmed by his colleagues thoughtfulness.

He says he is still planning on doing an Awareness Day, hopefully next year at the Shoreham site, current restrictions permitting. Steve is also contemplating a bike ride too – and takes heart knowing that Tesco’s, and his colleagues, will be fully behind him.

Steve proudly presented the cheque to our chairman Maureen, and vice-chairman Judith at a small socially-distanced event on November 4th. Alongside the cheque, Tesco very kindly donated a box of sweet-smelling goodies that we plan on using as raffle prizes.

We’ve all been touched by this incredible story and gifts, and we can confirm just what Tesco’s mean when they say ‘every little helps’ – as we can say it surely will.

On behalf of MND Association West Sussex South branch, we thank you.