Northampton man's face to feature across the nation in charity posters and billboards
A Northampton man has become the face of a new campaign to raise awareness for motor neurone disease (MND).
David Solomon, 64, from Kingsthorpe, was an active jogger who ran 30 marathons in his time - until he was diagnosed with MND in October 2015.
But David, who friends have called 'an amazing person who does the best he can to put himself out there', is now sharing his story with the whole country.
Starting this month, David and his wife Paula will now feature on billboards and posters across the country as part of the Motor Neurone Disease Association’s 'My Eyes Say' campaign.
David said: "I want people to understand that when you have MND you have to figure out what you can do, not dwell on what you can't do. It doesn't stop you from going out and having fun."
On the posters, David's face fills the banner and lets passersby the look him in the eyes. A caption reads ' I used to run marathons, but with motor neurone disease my eyes might be all I can move'.
A digital version of Dave’s poster can found at Northampton train station and a 16 sheet poster of Dave and Paula can be seen opposite Asda on London Road in Far Cotton throughout June.
MND is a fatal and incurable disease affecting the brain and spinal cord. It attacks the nerves that control movement, so muscles no longer work. In the latter stages of the disease, the eyes may be the only way sufferers can communicate.
The disease kills a third of people within a year of diagnosis, and more than half within two years.
David, who last month was pushed around the Milton Keynes half marathon in his wheelchair by his old running club, said: “You mustn't slip back and dwell on it. Don't let it define you. You have to do everything you did before but in a different way."
The campaign, which shares the real stories of people living with or bereaved by the disease, comes as part of MND Awareness Month.
David said: "I wanted to get involved in awareness month because I’ve had so much help from the MND Association, if I could just help one person out there I will feel like I’ve put something back into the charity."
Paula, David’s wife, said: “We want to talk to people, we want to spread the word and we want to try and find a cure for MND. We want to help people to understand that yes you’ve got this condition but it’s not the end of the world, you can still have a fulfilled and enjoyable life.”
The disease hit the headlines in 2014 following the impact of the Ice Bucket Challenge on social media.
Chris James, director for external affairs at the MND Association said: “Our awareness month is such an important part of the year for us but we never underestimate the courage it takes people to share their stories. Dave and Paula’s posters will be seen by thousands on the London Underground and National Rail network so a huge thank you to them both for agreeing to us sharing their powerful battle with MND."
Find out more about MND and the Association’s Awareness Month at www.mndeyes.org.
David and Paula are now organising a wheelchair rally to be held in July, and David will be taking on the 50-mile Cycle for Cynthia charity bike ride in an adapted bicycle in September.