A MAN is raising money to help raise funding and awareness for a 'little understood' disease in honour of his mother.

Gary Middleton, of Haltwhistle but currently lives in Hexham, is raising money and awareness for the Multiple Systems Atrophy Trust as his mother has the condition.

"MSA is a little understood, horrible disease which has similarities to Parkinson's," Gary said.

"My mother was diagnosed with MSA late last year and the disease is sadly degenerative and terminal.

"I must admit I had no idea what it was until my Mam told me the diagnosis.

"It is so sad as my mam has worked hard for years. She has helped so many people who were sick or elderly. 

"She has always looked out for friends and family no matter what she had on her plate.

"She volunteered for the Citizens Advice Bureau in Hexham and she was a bus driver in town for a number of years leading up to her being forced into retirement by her illness.

"It's incredibly unfair that she isn't able to enjoy retirement now."

To raise awarenss and funding for MSA Trust, Gary is doing the Rat Race Dirty Weekend on Saturday, May 7 - a 20-mile, 200 obstacle mud run in Burghley House, Rutland which he will accompanied by friends.

Gary said: "I love the area as I was based at RAF Wittering for five years when in the Air Force and this seemed like a tremendous challenge for someone who doesn't really like running.

"My schoolfriend Hannah is running with me, with another friend from the RAF from Glasgow and an old friend from my days living at RAF Wittering is running with us too."

"My goal is to raise as much money as I can, currently the total stands at £1,405, which is absolutely incredible. We've had some incredibly generous donations from as far away as Czech Republic, Dubai and America.

"But I'll keep on trying to get more as it is a very poorly understood disease that most people are completely unaware of."