Staff at Marks & Spencer’s Abbeycentre store have raised over £25,000 for the Huntington’s Disease Association Northern Ireland (HDANI).
The amazing sum is the single largest donation the charity has ever received.
A cheque for £25,365 was handed over after a year of fundraising events, including a team marathon run, charity cycles, bag packing, quiz nights, raffles and cake sales.
Huntington’s Disease (HD) is a highly complex neurodegenerative disorder, with a fluctuating progression, affecting both mind and body.
The charity was chosen by the M&S store after a staff member was personally affected by the disease.
Olive Campbell, who works in the Abbeycentre branch, explained:“My family has been hit hard by Huntington’s. I lost my mum and my grandmother to the disease, and eight members of my family are still suffering with the condition.
“It’s caused by a faulty gene which progressively destroys the central area of the brain. It affects many aspects of an individual’s life including mobility, moods, and thinking processes.
“I was delighted when HDANI was selected as 2013/2014 store charity of the year and the fact that all the staff have not only got behind the charity, but exceeded all expectations, has been incredible.
“This will make a major difference to families like mine,” she said.
Individuals with Huntington’s Disease may often appear to be relatively able-bodied until the later stages of the disease.
The condition is hereditary, with a risk factor of 50 per cent.
Errol Walsh from Huntington’s Disease Association Northern Ireland said: “This is the biggest donation our charity has received to date and it means so much to us.
“As a small charity, the recession hit us much harder than larger mainstream charities with a high public profile, and it has always been very hard to get support for a rare condition that so few people have heard of.
“The donation from the M&S Abbeycentre store has made a real difference at such a critical time for us.”
For more information about the Huntington’s Disease Association log on to www.hdani.org.uk