Bernadine Oliver Kerby raises awareness for motor neurone disease

By Sarah Harris

Bernadine Oliver-Kirby is raising funds for Motor Neuron Disease this coming weekend by participating in a charity walk. Photo / Doug Sherring
Bernadine Oliver-Kirby is raising funds for Motor Neuron Disease this coming weekend by participating in a charity walk. Photo / Doug Sherring

Broadcaster Bernadine Oliver-Kerby is stepping out to raise funds and awareness for Motor Neuron Disease - an illness striking down Kiwis before their prime, including her beloved father.

Grant Kerby, a Waikato farmer, died last year from the disease which has no known cure or treatment.

Today Oliver-Kerby will be raising awareness for MND and will support the Walk 2 D'Feet MND.

Oliver-Kerby said it took months to work out what was wrong after her dad lost feeling in one of his legs. The family initially thought it was a stroke. After months of invasive tests her father was diagnosed with motor neuron disease just over two years ago.

"We were living in limbo hoping it was something treatable.

"Because it [MND] is not common I kind of passed it to one side hoping that it wasn't. Because you don't escape MND. You don't win."

When her dad was diagnosed he was told the disease was terminal and he should get his affairs in order. The whole family was in shock, Oliver-Kerby said.

She said it was dreadful to watch her dad lose the use of his limbs and his ability to swallow. The once fit, healthy Waikato farmer still had the same sharp mind but slowly lost the ability to control his body. He died, aged 68, 14 months after he was diagnosed.

Oliver-Kerby, who is 45, said the really depressing part was knowing there was no way out.

"You're a prisoner in your own body... It's very cruel.

"As his daughter I felt robbed."

She wants to boost MND's profile to encourage researchers to focus on the disease. Oliver-Kerby will be at the 10.30am Flat Bush Walk 2 D'Feet MND "come rain, hail or shine".

"It'll be a lovely occasion to come together and a visual acknowledgement that you are not alone.

"I'm just trying to help fly the flag for a very little known disease."

- NZ Herald

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