A brighter future for children | Action Medical Research

Touching Lives - April 2014

A brighter future for children

We are always extremely grateful to supporters who remember Action with a gift in their will. Last year we received some exceptionally generous legacies and were able to fund more medical research as a result.

When Barbara Billingham from West Bromwich died in April 2013 she left half her estate, worth more than £83,000, to Action. Her wish was that it be used to fund research into multiple sclerosis (MS), a condition she experienced first-hand, having cared for her sister Jean who sadly died of MS in her early thirties. Helping children was also close to her heart as she had been a teacher and former head of a primary school.

Barbara’s legacy is helping to fund two research projects. The first is studying the early signs of MS in children and is a joint project with the MS Society.

Early results have already shown that the UK has the highest reported incidence in the world of children experiencing their first ‘MS-like’ attack in childhood – around 125 children each year at an average age of just 10. It is hoped this research will lead to earlier and more accurate diagnosis and new guidelines on how best to treat MS in children.

A second project is looking at dystonia, a serious, incurable movement disorder with many causes – MS being one. It is thought to affect at least 8,000 children and young people in the UK, causing painful and uncontrollable muscle spasms.

Diabetes research will also benefit from a gift left by Joy Mills, former Chair of our Merton Fundraising Committee. This is supporting the Research Training Fellowship of Dr Karen Logan at Imperial College, London, who is studying diabetes in pregnancy.

Other recent legacies have included shares in the estates of Beryl Burns of Redditch and Helen Smith of Oldham, and gifts from Cecil Varney of Watford, Rachel Pemberton of Woodbridge, Viola Dunkley of Beccles and Faith Lake of Frinton-on-Sea.

We are extremely grateful for all legacy gifts, whatever their size, and all are recorded in our Book of Remembrance. A gift in your will could unlock a future medical breakthrough or hold the key to a cure or treatment for a childhood illness. For more information or a confidential chat, call Jane Tarrant on 01403 327414 or email her at jtarrant@action.org.uk. You can also read more about leaving a legacy here.

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