Mark, who works for Peterson and Control Union in the shipping department at Aberdeen harbour, will be jetting off to Peru on 2nd September, for a six-day trek through the Andes Mountains to the ancient city of Machu Picchu. He’ll be joined by 25 other MND Scotland fundraisers from across the country.
Mark is raising funds for MND Scotland because his grandmother, Esther, passed away from MND in 1991, when she was 65 years old.
Mark, who was 15 years old when his grandmother passed away, said “I do remember her being diagnosed. No one really knew what it was at the time.
“My grandma was a lovely person and my memories of her are of a very kind person who would do anything for people. She bravely fought MND for five years and she still volunteered for the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service for a year after she was diagnosed.
"I remember being really sad because I didn’t see her in the last six weeks of her life. She was deteriorating quickly and my family wanted the younger family members to remember her before MND took a hold.”
Mark was recently touched by a documentary shown on BBC 2, featuring Scotland’s youngest MND patient, Lucy Lintott.
“Lucy was diagnosed with MND when she was just 19 and the bravery she showed in her documentary was amazing. I only realised after watching it that it was the anniversary of my grandma’s death – 1st August – it’s funny how things like that happen.
“It’s been great to see such an increase in awareness since the Ice Bucket Challenge and I wanted to do my bit too. I started fundraising for MND Scotland a few years ago; my sister was doing a 10k to raise money and she got me involved. Since then we’ve taken part in different events over the years and when I saw the Machu Picchu trek being advertised I jumped at the chance.
“It’s a different kind of challenge for me and an opportunity to raise even more money and awareness for MND Scotland.
“After my grandma’s passing, my granddad, John Albiston, did lots of fundraising for MND. He did loads of running events well in to his late 70s. He is also an inspiration for me to carry on raising money for MND in memory of my grandma.”
On his upcoming challenge, the dad of three-year-old Sophia has admitted it’s been difficult finding the time to train in between his busy schedule.
He said “Work is crazy busy at the moment and having a little one means I just don’t have the same spare time as I used to. I have been trying to do as much as possible; recently I’ve run in three half marathon events, I’ve done some 10k runs and have climbed a few hills, as well as going to the gym to increase my fitness levels.
“I set my fundraising target to £5,000 and have already reached £6,300, and I’ll keep on going until the big trip. In the past few months I’ve organised a golf day and an 80s disco, which were both really successful nights.
“My final training event will be the Aberdeen Great North Run on 27th August so this is my final bid to get more donations in for that!”
To donate to Mark’s challenge visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mark-albiston
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