A 38-year-old mum from Salford diagnosed with motor neurone disease has had thousands of pounds raised for her to rehabilitate her home.
The latest fundraising event took place at the Royal Oak pub in Boothstown, Worsley this Saturday (October 14). The Royal Oak was rife with attendees who were helping to raise donations for mum-of-three Anna Barrow, who was diagnosed with the illness in May.
Activities for children, such as a tombola and kids’ karaoke, were on offer during the afternoon, with an adults’ night of raffles, ‘play your cards right’, bingo and a plethora of musical performances being showcased in the evening.
Salford-born Anna said: “I was diagnosed following 18 months to two years of symptoms that were initially put down to temporary nerve damage after a COVID jab.
“The issue started in my left hand and slowly started to spread to the whole of the left-hand side of my body.
“My left foot is affected, and the left-hand side of my face when I swallow or if I talk too much.
“It came to a head in May, as I’d had a couple of falls and it was kind of spreading to the right-hand side, which obviously made me think it wasn’t what the doctors thought it was.”
Anna additionally explained the devastating impact that the disease, which is caused by the motor neuron cells in the brain and nerves slowly failing over time, has already had on her and her family. Anna added: “My husband has to help me with my hair, makeup, getting dressed and making meals and things.
“The biggest thing for me was having to quit work in August.
“As the disease progresses, I will need more help – the whole house needs to be adapted for downstairs living, everything needs to be widened with wheelchair access.
“The local council have been amazing, but the (council) grant is up to £30k and the estimated (renovation) cost is around £50k-80k.”
Performances from Bar Pop drag queen Bella Deball and singers Lauren Tighe, Tilly Taylor-Baird and Nathan James were scattered throughout the night to make for a fun, party-filled atmosphere.
Despite this, the main goals of the evening and the severity of Anna’s condition were not lost on event organiser Crystal Taylor-Baird.
A long-time friend of Anna’s and dance teacher to her three young children, Fallon, 14, Eve, 15 and Tilly, 18, Crystal said: “Anna and her family mean a lot to us, they’ve been with us and had their children at my dance school for quite a while, I’ve taught the children from being age three upwards.
“They (the children) were in bits last Friday, and I was like ‘What’s wrong girls?’
“In the back of my head, I knew what it was, that’s the hardest bit for me.
“We’re just doing as much as we can to try and help the girls and help out Martyn (Anna’s husband).
“We’ve also done a 10k walk, and we’ve got a 10k run next week, so hopefully we’re going to try and touch the £10k mark.”
“Audience members were also treated to antics from hosts Nathan James and Karen Baird, who utilised crowd participation to garner as many donations as possible.”
Karen said: “I’ve known her (Anna) for such a long time, I’ve known the family since the children were babies, it (the event) is just about trying to help out to give her enough money to make memories.
“They’re trying to raise money for a house; I’ve got an architect that’s going to do the plans for the house and then it might be a case of doing our own DIY.”
As well as Crystal and Karen, friends Sherry Knight and Dianne Loynes have been fundraising for Anna since her diagnosis, with Dianne dubbing the family the ‘Brave Barrows’.
Sherry said: “We felt so helpless, we were like ‘We’ve got to do something.’
Dianne said: “People have been wonderfully kind, even though people are struggling at the moment.”
As of October 15, over £15k has been raised for the Barrows.
After the success of Saturday, the group will continue to fundraise for the family, having planned a 10k run on October 21.
They are hoping to raise enough money for Anna’s house can be completely renovated, in addition to financing memorable experiences for her and her family.
Donations can be made via the group’s Just Giving page.