Man takes on Management Challenge in memory of aunt

A father-of-two is taking on the Dell Technologies Management Challenge in memory of his auntie who sadly passed away from motor neurone disease (MND).

With the Motor Neurone Disease Association being this year’s charity partner, Nick Moroney knew he needed to take part to help fundraise for a cause very close to his heart. So, he put himself forward to be part of a Dell Technologies team.

The 35-year-old, who works as an NHS Account Execuive for Dell Technologies, said: “I was really close to my auntie Cathleen growing up. My dad had quite a big family – six sisters and five brothers, so the whole family would chip in and look after each other. My auntie would always look after me if my mum and dad were at work, so we spent a lot of time together.”

Everything was fine until July 2021 when Cathleen first started to experience mild symptoms of MND. However, Nick said that after she had a fall, she started to deteriorate and was officially diagnosed with the disease that November.

Nick said: “My auntie lost all her physical ability between July and January 2022. By April 2022 her speech had completely gone too. It all happened very quickly.

“MND is such a cruel disease, and it was so difficult to see. She was a traditional wife and mother. She did the cooking and cleaning and looked after my uncle and my cousins and their children. She was completely selfless and gave everything to everyone, that’s the type of person she was. It didn’t seem right that she needed 24/7 care. That would have been really hard for her.”

While MND had robbed Cathleen of her speech and movement, Nick said they were still able to communicate with her through a special machine called a TD I-Series.

He said: “The hospital gave her a machine which used her eye movements to type on a keyboard and say what she was thinking. If she wanted something or wanted to ask a question, she could still do that, and we could still have a conversation with her even in her last couple of days. Without that machine she wouldn’t have been able to communicate at all.”

Heartbreakingly it wasn’t long before the disease completely took over. She passed away in November 2022 aged 66 – just a year after her diagnosis. She was a mother of two, grandmother of seven and a great grandmother to one.

Nick, who is a father himself to a four and seven-year-old, said: “We’re all so thankful to the MND Association. The charity offered so much support and were fantastic throughout. They arranged for a grant for my auntie to be used how needed – on things to look after herself, to help her feel like her again like having a pedicure, rather than on managing the illness.

“There were also some issues with how she was cared for in hospital and they also helped my cousin to share feedback with them to help with training, so it doesn’t happen to others.

“Her carers were brilliant – they were really nice ladies and we all got on well with them. They even said that without proper communication or words, when a person has a warm heart it shows – they could see what an amazing person my auntie was.”

While Nick had seen colleagues taking part in the Management Challenge in previous years, finding out this year’s event was raising money for MND Association, he knew he needed to join.

He said: “I’ve always been tempted to take part, but had it not been for MNDA I would have been less inclined to put myself forward.

“I like all sports and running – I took part in the London marathon the year before last – although I’ve never been an adventure racer. But a colleague did it last year and said it was amazing.”

Nick is taking part as part of team Dragon’s Brigade which has managed to raise more than $6,500 for the charity too.

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