MND awareness event

Motor Neuron Disease Association patients mark ALS/MND Global Awareness Day on June 21 at Bellvilles Dutch Reformed Church Hall with the release of signature blue balloons.

Cape Town singers entertained patients last Thursday as the Pinelands-based Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA) of SA commemorated International ALS/MND Global Awareness Day.

Motor Neuron Disease (MND), also referred to as Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), causes the death of neurons controlling voluntary muscles.

The event, which was organised by the MNDA, was held at the Dutch Reformed Church in Bellville and featured performances by veteran stage performer, Aviva Pelham and young tenor Khanya Sakube who is part of the Cape Town Opera. There were also bubbly and blue and white balloons which were released into the sky.

The church hall is the venue for regular support group meetings run by MNDA advisors Joey Bayley, Tracey Cuff and Desiree Diedricks.

Ms Pelham, who has been the patron of the MNDA since its inception in 1993, spoke about each person’s need to find meaning and inspiration in their individual journeys in life, which could be met by things of beauty such as nature, art, theatre and, most of all, music.

Mr Sakube performed powerful opera renditions which included Dein is mein ganzes Herz, an aria by Franz Lehar, followed by The Prayer, in which he did a moving duet with Ms Pelham made famous by world-renowned Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and Canadian songstress Celine Dion and finished off with Nessun Dorma which was made famous by the late Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti at the 1990 FIFA World Cup.

Mr Sakube said afterwards how moved he was to perform for a group he recognised as having to deal with much suffering and that he hoped his contribution provided some joy. As an NPO, the MNDA depends on donations, bequests and fundraising activities to continue providing material and emotional support to the some 250 patients and their families, from all walks of life, currently living with MND.

For more information, you can contact the MNDA of South Africa on 021 531 6130 or email

You can also visit their website at