It takes a village to raise a child

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Crowdfunding is a beautifully simple idea.

People make individual contributions to a cause and can collectively make a big difference.

And here is where I depart from an impassive look at this topic. Soon after the birth of our second son, my beautiful wife Nayeli started to experience problems when walking.

We put these trips and falls down to an old sporting injury – Nayeli used to play soccer in her native Mexico – but it soon became clear something more serious was happening.

The next two years were a blur of medications and tests, of meetings with frowning doctors in sterile specialist units.

And then, as the symptoms revealed themselves with brutal clarity, we received the devastating diagnosis. It was motor neurone disease, they said, an incurable and terminal illness.

I do not have the words to describe the heartache. But I can say this. When every plan you have made together turns to ashes, the world carries on regardless. School uniforms still need to be laid out for the morning, bills still need to be paid.

You cannot pause life, not if you want to stay above water, not if you want your children to have an awesome childhood, in spite of everything.

And so, led by Nayeli, we started to put in place the things we needed to carry on. We organised a care team, moved house, put a stairlift in, ordered an electric wheelchair and an accessible car.

The people around us formed an invisible forcefield. Our families helped us in more ways than I could ever count. The school showed extraordinary care for our sons Oscar and Mateo. We discovered the incredible Neuro DropIn and the MNDA. My partners at Hotfoot were rocks. The care team became friends. Our friends came with cake. People offered their help and they listened.

Last week I discovered one of our friends had created a crowdfunding page on JustGiving to help us make more changes to our house so Nayeli can continue living at home. According to an old African proverb it takes a village to raise a child. Now I know what that means.