A BEITH woman is sharing her story to raise awareness of Motor Neurone Disease.
Linda Mitchell, 58, was diagnosed with the terminal muscle-wasting illness, in August 2017, and was forced to give up her job as a tour guide for Tennent’s Wellpark Brewery.
This MND Awareness Week (18th-24th June) Linda is raising awareness of the disease by sharing her story. MND is a rapidly progressing terminal illness, which stops signals from the brain reaching the muscles. This may cause someone to lose the ability to walk, talk, eat, drink or breathe unaided.
Linda is married to David and together they have two sons, Jordan and Calum.
Linda, who worked for Tennent’s in Glasgow for 27 years has started to lose her voice to MND, a key asset during her time as a tour guide. Linda loved her job and was heartbroken when she had to leave.
She said: “I found it really hard to stop working. I loved my job, particularly meeting new people every day as part of the brewery tours. I met my husband-to-be on my first day of work; I was to be brewery guide and David was a brewer at the time, so he put me through my paces of learning the brewing process.
“I became very passionate about the history of the company and did many other jobs, always returning to where my passion was – tour guiding. I’m very much a people’s person, so being a gab came naturally to me; walking and talking was my forte.
“Tennent’s have been so supportive and they even sent David and I on an overnight to Gleneagles recently.”
Linda first realised something was happening to her speech in 2014 while on holiday. She said, “The first time I noticed something was wrong was after two sips of a cocktail when I was on holiday. My speech was slurring but I felt completely sober. Then after doing a Halloween tour at the brewery, my third tour of the day, I noticed speech was starting to slur again.
“I went to the doctor and it was treated as a stroke, but then my right leg started to drag too. I began physiotherapy but the doctor sent me to yet another consultant who thought it might be all in my mind, that was it. I pushed for someone else to have a look because now I was having to use a walking aid – I knew something was wrong – it wasn’t all in my head. So, I was referred to another consultant in May 2017.