A Croston man is raising funds to find a cure for multiple sclerosis by auctioning signed balls and other sporting memorabilia.Advertisement
Kev Shurmer, who was diagnosed with MS in 2006, started Balls To MS after a friend gave him a rugby ball signed by the Welsh 2017 Six Nations squad.
Sports-mad Kev said: “My diagnosis at the age of 39 was a total bolt from the blue. Everything I expected my future to be was turned upside down in those few words, ‘Kev, you have MS’.
“I coped the only way I knew how, by continuing to strengthen my body. I thought, ‘If I fight it, it won’t get the better of me’. I had always considered myself invincible, but MS doesn’t work like that, and over the next few years my ability to do the things I loved were cruelly taken from me.”
Eleven years after his diagnosis, Kev can now only manage very short distances with the aid of a crutch and has to take regular naps to manage the associated fatigue.
Kev continued: “When my friend gave me the Wales rugby ball, I decided collecting balls and auctioning them off was something I could still do. It occurred to me that if I had all of the Six Nations balls, I could raise some money. But why stop there – there’s football, cricket, golf, the list goes on. From that Balls To MS was born!”
Since that first donation, Kev has collected over 70 items including a boxing glove signed by Mike Tyson, a signed Team Sky jersey, and a Champions League Final ball signed by Gareth Bale.
The list of memorabilia also features plenty of Lancashire sports teams such as Preston North End, Wigan Warriors and Lancashire Cricket.
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The majority of the items will be auctioned online during September, while the most prestigious pieces are being saved for the upcoming Balls To MS Charity Dinner, which will take place at Bolton Whites Hotel on Friday 5 October. Tickets are available from Skiddle, and all funds raised will be donated to the MS Society UK.
Kev said: “Not only are scientists yet to find a cure for MS, but they also don’t know what causes it. If they can work out why it happens it would be a giant leap, and I just had to do my bit to try to help.
“I’ve managed to grow the collection through word of mouth, a begging bowl and the kindness of others. I still need more balls though, because the more balls I have the more funding I can raise for research to find a cure for this cruel disease.”
You can find out more about Balls To MS and view all the auction items on the Balls To MS website. You can follow Balls To MS on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
If you can help by donating a sporting item, or offering sponsorship towards the Balls To MS Charity Dinner, please get in touch with Kev at firstname.lastname@example.org.