ONE OF the first women in the world to get pregnant and conceive with motor neurone disease has told Health Secretary Sajid Javid to “put your hand in your pocket” and fund targeted research to find a cure for the terminal illness.
Joanne Cole, 33, gave birth to her “miracle baby” Sebastian at Royal Stoke Hospital three years ago, proving that sufferers of the rapidly progressing disease which affects the brain and spinal column can cope with the physical demands of nine months of pregnancy. This had previously been doubted by medical experts.
Joanne, a former fitness instructor from Stafford, is backing a Sunday Express campaign for £50million of Government funding over five years to set up an MND Research Institute to co-ordinate efforts to find effective treatments and a cure for the horrific condition.
She said: “We have waited far too long for anything to be done. It actually feels like we have been forgotten.
“It’s just not fair. A cure is so close and we just need a last push. We are worth it.”
The mother-of-two, who has lost her voice and uses an “eye gaze machine” to communicate, wanted to send a clear message to the health minister: “I would like to say that it is time to put your hand in your pocket and start to put the money where it is needed.
“We don’t have the time to wait around for a miracle to happen. The time is now and MND is not rare.
“So many people are living with MND and it destroys lives and families ‑ so please do something for us.”
Joanne, who does admit she was a “fitness fanatic” while at school, had her first son Harry when she was 20.
A year later she met her partner Stuart, who is now a Royal Mail postman, on a night out in Stafford. She says: “The rest is history. He’s been my rock throughout.”
Joanne first noticed symptoms of MND seven years ago when she had a slight weakness in her left hand which affected her grip.
She said: “I knew that something was wrong because when you are into your fitness you know your body and you know when something isn’t right.
“Over the coming months I started tripping up a lot and then my speech started to slur.
“I also noticed that I. “Brinkwire Summary News”.