When Lana Hook lost her mother to Motor Neurone Disease in 2015 she found the support network in Whanganui for MND sufferers and their families was a bit thin on the ground.

"There are field officers around the country," Mrs Hook explains, "but the closest one to Whanganui, is in Wellington."

So, when she heard about the Walks 2 D'Feet MND that are held annually around New Zealand, she decided she would organise one herself.

Last year's walk was thus the first annual Whanganui Walk to D'Feet MND and it was an unmitigated success. About 300 people walked around the bridges to raise funds and awareness for what Mrs Hook calls "a horrible disease", and out of this gathering of sympathetic people, the Whanganui MND support group was born.


"It helped a lot of us who have, or have lost, family members with MND to connect with other people who are going through the same things," Mrs Hook says.

"I wanted something good to come from my mother's loss.

"Last year I didn't know what to expect, I was kind of hoping for around 100 people," said Mrs Hook.

"It's a bit different this year, I have last year to compare it with. I just hope the weather is better this year."

The support group, who have only been officially meeting for about six months, are all chipping in to organise this year's walk on Sunday, November 12.

"This year we are making it a real family affair; there will be face painting for the kids, and a sausage sizzle at the end.

"We also have some really great spot prizes this year, which we didn't have last year, all generously donated by local businesses."

Walks 2 D'Feet MND are being held all over the country on November 12 as the main annual fundraiser for MND New Zealand. Half the money raised will go towards funding MND research, the other half to MND New Zealand to help provide support for people with MND and their caregivers.

The Whanganui walk will be "Around the Bridges", starting and finishing on the riverbank side of the iSite on Taupo Quay. It is about 5km on flat terrain and the entire walk is "wheel-friendly" - prams, pushchairs and wheelchairs are all welcome.

"We will be meeting at 9.30am at the iSite, rain or shine, to give people a chance to register and get some MND merchandise before the walk starts at 10.30am," says Mrs Hook.

All proceeds from the merchandise go to MND New Zealand.

Walk to D'Feet MND Whanganui, November 12 at 9.30am, iSite 31 Taupo Quay.

For more information see www.mnda.org.nz.