Roma hits the road for MND

August 14, 2021

A Brayton schoolgirl is fundraising for motor neurone disease (MND) after a close family friend was diagnosed only last year and has already lost his ability to speak and walk.

Roma Tate, 8, and her parents Anna and Dan have taken on the Mission 5000 challenge to help raise much-needed funds for the nightmarish disease. MND describes a group of diseases that affect the motor neurones in the brain and spinal cord that tell your muscles what to do. It is life-shortening and there currently is no cure. One in 300 are at risk of getting MND across their lifetime and it can affect people of any age but is more common in people over 50. The Motor Neurone Disease Association’s Mission 5000 challenge represents the 5000 living with MND in the UK. Participants collectively cover 5,000 miles and last year raised over £280,000.

The Tate family has pledged to walk 500 miles, with Roma taking on 100, throughout the month of August in honour of their good friend, Mark Fawcett, 46, who was diagnosed with MND in December 2020. In only a very short time, the father of three has lost the ability to walk and talk and his wife (Roma’s godmother) has had to give up her job to care for him. After Roma’s mum, Anna, explained Mark’s situation to her, she wanted to do anything she could to help. Anna said: “It was a difficult thing to explain to Roma. It’s such a big thing to explain that our good friend of many years suddenly can no longer walk or talk. “Sadly, it’s too late to help Mark but we want to do all we can to help others affected by the horrible disease.”

In just eight days, Roma has already ran, cycled and swam her way to the 40-mile mark and is well on her way to reaching the 100-mile target. As a collective, the family already surpassed 200 miles in the first nine days of August. Anna said: “Roma is a very active child and is a member of Sherburn Community Gymnastics Club. She enjoys swimming, does athletics with the Vale of York Athletic Community and is a regular runner at Brayton Academy Junior Parkrun. She has also recently started to take part in Triathlons. “She’s very enthusiastic about this challenge and just wants to help. We’re so proud of her.” Roma commented: “I wanted to do the challenge as I enjoy running and riding my bike. I get to do both those things and help raise lots of money for charity. I want to help other people like Mark.” To donate to the cause and help the family in their quest to raise life-saving funds for MND, visit

Racking up the miles cycling on their recent holiday to Northumberland. (12-08-70 SU)

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