Tayside’s youngest MND sufferer has raised over half her £10,000 crowdfunding target in less than three weeks.
Jo Knowlton, 30, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease, which causes life-changing degeneration of the brain and spinal cord nerves, last year.
Once an active young woman, she now relies on a walker to help her mobility and can only go short distances.
Jo, from the West End of Dundee, said she first started noticing something wasn’t right in February 2019.
“I had problems with my hands, I was finding buttons and zips difficult,” she said.
“I couldn’t close my fingers or take coins out my purse. I went to see the GP to find out what was going on.”
She was referred to a hand specialist and after some tests Jo was diagnosed with the neurological condition in August.
When thinking about what could be wrong, Jo said MND was something she had not considered.
She said: “I thought MND only affected older people. I didn’t consider it a reason for my symptoms. I thought multiple sclerosis was maybe the worst case scenario.
“I was at the gym four or five days a week, taking my dog round the park all the time, always going on long forest walks and things.
“It’s now affecting my legs, I can only walk short distances with a four-wheeled walker.”
The disease is also affecting her core strength, meaning she struggles to change position from lying down to sitting up.
Jo, who is currently shielding during lockdown, and works for the Scottish Police Authority as an imaging officer, set up a fundraising page online to help her with the costs of dealing with the progressive disease.
In just under three weeks she has raised £6,200 of her £10,000 target.
Jo said: “It’s amazing, I’m really surprised at the response I’ve had. I thought it would take a lot longer than that.
“I didn’t think so many people would just respond and donate.
“I’m very, very grateful for everybody’s help and support. People that I don’t even know have been so supportive and sent me money. It has really made a difference – during lockdown especially.”
Jo said the money raised will help go towards alternative therapies for treatments such as a sports massages as well as on alterations to a new house.
She said: “I need to move from my flat to a bungalow. I’m just waiting on the property market opening again so I can go to viewings.”
Jo is also speaking out to raise awareness of the condition, which currently affects around 400 people in Scotland.
She added: “I think it is just a case of raising awareness that it can happen to anybody.
“It doesn’t just happen to older people. I was a young fit and healthy person before this.”
To donate to Jo’s fundraiser visit gofundme and search for Jo Knowlton.