Loved ones of Lancashire Constabulary police officer with motor neurone disease launch fund-raising mission
Loved ones of a Lancashire Constabulary police officer with motor neurone disease are raising funds to support him.
Preston mum Laura Cruise is raising at least £35,000 to pay for home adaptations that will make life more comfortable for her 52-year-old husband Mark, a former Blackpool policeman.
She hopes to turn their living room into a bedroom and wet room, and create family living space from an extension to the house.
The 32-year-old, who works at Preston Police Station, said: "He's a shell of the man he used to be. Mark now uses a wheelchair and has lost the use of his hands. He can't go from lying to sitting without help. It's impacted his confidence and given him anxiety. "
Mark was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) last March, only a few months after noticing minor symptoms. The condition, which is normally fatal, affects the brain and nerves, and causes weakness. Early symptoms can include slurred speech, a weak grip, muscle cramps, twitches, weight loss, and difficulty stopping yourself crying or laughing in inappropriate situations.
Life has completely changed for the couple since they were married three years ago in Ambleside, with Laura describing them as a "normal family". The pair have four children between them from previous relationships: Chloe and Josh, who are both at university; seven-year-old Jacob; and 10-year-old Max.
Policing is in Mark's blood, with both of his brothers, Chris and Alex, having served with Merseyside police for more than 30 years. The former Liverpudlian worked his way up to the rank of Detective Sergeant in a busy reactive CID office in Blackpool.
Laura said: "Mark is funny and kind. He'd genuinely do anything for anyone. I think the fact that so many people are doing things for us is a testament to Mark. There just aren't the right words to describe him."
Among the fund-raisers organised by friends, family and colleagues is a tower to tower bike ride on March 21 from Tesco in Clifton Retail Park, Clifton Road, Blackpool.
Homicide detectives are also running the Chester Marathon while other loved ones are taking part in the Great North Run.
Another fund-raising event will take place on February 28 at the Boot and Shoe Pub in Elswick. There will also be two Three Peak challenges, bake sales and a "24 hours in police custody" challenge, whereby participants will be locked in disused cells until a target is reached. The organisers on the hunt for a celebrity to be involved.
Commenting on the support they have received, Laura added: "I think it's absolutely amazing. People probably say this all the time but it's humbling. You never think you're going to find yourself in this position. We're lucky we have good people around us doing everything they can to help. We're really grateful."
Any additional funds will go to a charity called Motor Neurone Disease Association.
"When we were thrust into this world, we had no idea what we were doing," Laura said.
"I Googled the illness and found the charity. I cried and cried down the phone to a woman at the association and she sent out a nurse who helped us with so much. They're a one-stop shop and are also offering counselling to the kids."
To find out more or offer any help, search for Cruisey's Journey on Facebook.