LAUNCESTON College A Level student Shannon Moody will run the London Marathon next year to raise money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA).
Motor Neurone Disease affects the nerves (motor neurones) in the brain and spinal cord that tell your muscles what to do. These nerves gradually stop reaching the muscles, leading them to weaken, stiffen and waste.
The 17-year-old knows first-hand the debilitating effect the disease can have as her auntie Beverley Best has recently been diagnosed.
Shannon said: “I have been toying with the idea of running the London Marathon for a while and with my auntie being diagnosed I thought it was time to raise some money and spread the word.
“I’m on a Facebook group called RUN MND and it helps inspire you even more to get up and do something.”
Not a particularly keen runner, Shannon admits that when she told her family and friends was a surreal experience.
Shannon said: “Mum and Dad couldn’t believe it, especially my dad who was just shell-shocked. My mum has put it all up on Facebook to get publicity and she’s going to try and help raise as much money as she can too.
“When I told my friends at college they couldn’t believe it either. I just ran around telling everyone so hopefully we can make it a success.”
Over the next nine and a half months, Shannon’s life is going to be extremely busy. She’s set herself a target of £2,500 and will hold fundraising events including bag packing, cake sales and a wine and wisdom but alongside that has to fit in her second year of Sixth Form, plenty of training and a couple of warm-up events.
Shannon continued: “Although I’m an A Level PE student I’ve never really done a lot of running before so I’m starting from scratch. I started doing some training at the beginning of June and I’ve gradually built up my distances from 5k (kilometres) to 10k although I had to take things easy at the beginning due to a sprained ankle.
“Thankfully I’ve now finished my exams and don’t go back to college until September so I can start getting some good training in but I need to start organising the first fundraiser as it’s all about raising as much money as possible.
“I’ve signed up for the Plymouth 10K in October and I want to fit in a half marathon before the end of the year so I’m sure I’m going to be really busy.”
To donate to Shannon’s Just Giving page, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/shannon-moody