Fife family of young dad say thanks for support

Joni with his family
Joni with his family

Friends and family of a young dad who has lost his brave battle with MND are keeping his memory alive by raising awareness about the cruel condition.

Jonathan Halley (35) – known as Joni – died on July 16, just 21 months after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of motor neurone disease.

The former Bell Baxter High School pupil had previously been fit and healthy, and his symptoms were initially put down to a trapped nerve.

But Joni deteriorated quickly and friends in his home town of Cupar rallied round to raise the £19,000 needed to adapt the house in Glenrothes he shared with his wife Becky and two young daughters.

Poignantly, his family set up a Facebook page called Joni’s Bucket Fund and donations poured in, allowing him to spend his last few precious weeks in comfort.

Now dozens of friends and relations are to take part in a 5K fun run in Holyrood Park on September 4 in aid of MND Scotland – and will present the charity with a cheque for £2000, comprising what was left in the bucket fund and the phenomenal £1500 that was raised at Joni’s funeral on July 29.

Hundreds of people turned out to pay their respects to the popular young man, all wearing something blue to represent MND Scotland.

Joni’s sister, Michelle Smith, told the Fife Herald this week that their parents, Ian and Shirley – both very well-known in the town – had been ‘overwhelmed’ by the generosity and kindness shown to Joni and his family during his illness and following his tragic death.

“The amount of support we’ve had is absolutely amazing,” she said.

“We couldn’t have done any of it without the support of the community right from the beginning.”

“My parents have been overwhelmed by the cards, gifts and flowers they’ve received since Joni passed away and they’re so grateful to everyone.”

Michelle continued: “We would also like to pay tribute to the nurses at the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy, where Joni died.

“They were so caring and keen to learn more about Joni’s journey.”

Motor neurone disease is a rare condition that progressively damages parts of the nervous system, leading to muscle weakness and causing increasing loss of mobility in the limbs, and difficulties with speech, swallowing and breathing.

The cause of the condition is not known and as yet there is no cure.

Anyone is welcome to join ‘Team Halley’ at the event on September 4.

You can register to take part in the event online at www.mndscotland.org.uk or by calling 0141 32 3903.