‘People need to be aware of MSA’

Mick Buckel, who suffers from MSA and his wife Heather.
Mick Buckel, who suffers from MSA and his wife Heather.
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A former bus driver diagnosed with a rare condition which affects only 1 in 100,000 people wants to raise awareness of the disease.

Mick Buckel has multiple system atrophy which is a progressive neurological disorder often misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s disease.

It is caused by degeneration in several or multiple areas of the brain which can result in problems with movement, balance and automatic functions of the body such as bladder and blood pressure control.

After receiving the diagnosis on December 13 last year, Mick , 62, has received an immense amount of support from hia wife Heather, 52, his daughter Selena, 30, and his son Michael, 32, as well as his grandchildren.

Heather said: “Parkinson’s sufferers can live for years but Mick’s life expectancy is 10 years.

“Last year Mick was signed off work with stress after having three accidents within three months.

“He was signed off with stress. His co-ordination was clumsy and he was suffering with slurred speech.

“By December he had been diagnosed with multiple system atrophy.

“Now he is just learning to live day to day with the condition.

“He has been put on medication to calm the tremors but they only work for a short time. In February, his medication was increased and he was thrilled because he wasn’t shaking.

“We are a close family anyway, Mick and I have been married for 33 years.

“However, for 10 years we coasted a bit.

“The diagnosis has brought us closer together, it’s now about making some fantastic memories before he is not able to do a lot of things.

“I want our grandkids to remember their grandad with great affection.

“We are planning a trip to Euro Disney with my son and daughter-in-law and their two kids.”

Mick and Heather have sold their house and are moving in with Heather’s parents until they can find a suitable house for Mick’s needs.

Heather said: “You have to keep your sense of humour but we are still trying to deal with it.

“The thing is you never know when you are going to be struck down with something.

“If we can help someone with the same condition it has to be a good thing. People need to be aware that there is this condition that has devastating effects.

“In a way we feel lucky because we have some time before he becomes very ill.”

Mick and Heather’s daughter Selena is running the Manchester 10K on May 26 to raise money for the MSA Trust. Visit www.justgiving.com/selena-berry to donate.

If you’ve been affected by MSA or would like more information visit msatrust.org.uk or call 020 7940 4666.