It’s been just over a year since Grant Kerby, a hardworking farmer from the Waikato, lost his battle with Motor Neuron Disease (MND) at 67. Although her beloved father’s death is still raw for Bernadine, the much-loved news anchor hopes that in speaking out she’ll raise awareness of the heartbreaking illness.
“I feel like I need to give something back,” says Bernadine, 45. “I can’t fix people. But I can use my voice to let people know that this a killer – a silent killer – and we need to start changing that.”
MND is the name of a group of diseases that destroy the nerve cells that control your muscles. With no nerves to activate them, the muscles you use to walk, talk, speak and eat gradually stop working – and eventually you're trapped in a body that can no longer move. Awareness of the disease spiked in 2014, with The Ice Bucket Challenge which became a social media phenomenon.
Having watched her own father tragically waste away in his final days, Bernadine is passionate about raising funds for research to support MND sufferers and their carers. On September 25, Walk 2 D’Feet MND is being held in 14 towns and cities throughout New Zealand – and the mum-of-two will be ready and raring to pound the pavement.
“We’ve come so far with cancer treatments, why not MND? We’ve got to put in the resources and start the hard work. We can all make a difference, whether it be a voice, doing the walk or clicking on the donation page.”
Bernadine is one of four Kiwi celebrities – including Sir Richard Hadlee, Brett McGregor, Annabel Langbein and Tamati Coffey – who will appear in a TV campaign to champion the worthy cause.
For the full story with Bernadine, grab your copy of this week's Woman's Day, on sale now.