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Getting involved has helped me to treasure every moment, says Dunedin Walk organiser Serena

Community, Events, Fundraising

15 November 2023


When Serena’s brother Michael was diagnosed with MND on Valentine’s Day 2020 everything changed. He and his young family were living in Wellington, but soon moved back home to Invercargill to be close to family. Among all the bad news and uncertainty over the future, the one bright spot that Serena recalls is that the family was all back together again.

Inspired by her brother and looking for a way to tackle MND head on, she decided to focus on raising awareness and funds towards care and an eventual cure by organising the ‘Walk to Defeat MND’ charity walk.

As a first time organiser and self proclaimed introvert, it was all about starting simple and local. MND NZ provides a lot of guidance and sets up sponsorship ask templates as well as press releases, and it was incredibly helpful to chat with those that had organised past walks and learning from their experiences.

“The hardest part was maintaining confidence to chat up potential sponsors and venue holders” says Serena, and her best advice is to start from your comfort zone and grow from there. When organising the first walk she started by speaking with friends about it first and has since become much more confident, even doing radio and newspaper interviews.

A memorable moment was Jo Cotton joining the walk, following her appearance on Celebrity Treasure Island Fans v Faves raising funds for her chosen charity MND NZ. Jo did a wonderful job chatting with the kids and posing for photos, absolutely making their day.

And the biggest highlight? Organising the walk “has helped me to really treasure each moment with loved ones, whether they’re battling MND or not every moment is precious, and these walks have been a wonderful opportunity for others to see this as well. Just do it, you’ve got nothing to lose, and so much to gain for people living with MND”.


Could you host a walk?

Anyone can volunteer to organise a Walk to Defeat MND community event, whether you are affected by MND or not. You could host an event in honour of a local kiwi battler, in memory of a friend lost to the disease, or in support of the MND cause. It’s a wonderful way to connect with others in your community and make a difference.

Send us a message with your email and phone number and we’ll get in touch to talk you through what’s involved, resources and tools available, and how we can help you plan a Walk to Defeat MND in your community. 

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