Family to ‘walk while they can’ for Motor Neurone

FAMILY and friends of a Donegal man who died of Motor Neurone Disease will hit the road this weekend for a charity walk.
John Given passed away in April 2015 at the age of 69, two years after being diagnosed with the rare condition that affects the brain and nervous system.
This Saturday the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association is encouraging people to ‘Walk While You Can’, a fundraising initiative inspired by the late Fr Tony Coote. In 2018 Fr Coote walked 550km from Donegal to Cork, raising €600,000 for Motor Neurone Disease.
Among those walking while they can will be John Given’s daughter Maria. On Saturday morning she and six siblings and friends will set off on a five kilometre walk around Donegal Town in memory of John.
“The Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association was very good with daddy and got him all the care he needed,” said Maria.
“He was actually doing trials with them and spent nine months travelling up and down to Dublin for tests and research to see if they could help anyone else.”

In happier times…John having fun with his grandchildren. He loved a laugh, according to his children.

Saturday’s walk will be the latest fundraiser undertaken by the Given family for the organisation. In October 2015 Maria’s brother Robert, sisters Lorna and Paula and niece Megan abseiled down Croke Park, raising €10,000. And in 2019 they participated in the ‘Drink Tea for MND’ day, adding another €3,000 to their fundraising tally. Prior to his death John Given, who according to his family always enjoyed a laugh, took part in the ice bucket challenge.
“It is mum and dad’s 51st wedding anniversary on Friday and when the walk popped up on Facebook we said we would do it. When daddy was alive and one of us had a bad day or didn’t want to do something he would always say ‘Do it while you can, do it while you’re fit and able when nothing is stopping you’.”
All money raised through the ‘Walk While You Can’ initiative will go towards sustaining the IMNDA’s nursing service and helping it grow its outreach service.
It’s so important to keep people in their own homes,” said the organisations Chief Executive Lillian McGovern.
“They need the care and support of their close family and friends and they need to remain active in their community. Our outreach nursing service, along with our other key supports, enables us to do this.”
To make a donation to the walk in memory of John Given log on to

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