‘All I want to do is play games with my children’

Jamie, Todd and Dalton Bartrum, 8, and Corey, 17, and Courtney Marsh.
Jamie, Todd and Dalton Bartrum, 8, and Corey, 17, and Courtney Marsh. William Dubois

ALL Todd Bartrum wants to do on Father's Day is kick a football with his son.

The Gladstone father is facing the biggest battle of his life.

Being diagnosed in April last year with motor neurone disease has changed his life.

He is unable to go to work, do grocery shopping, needs assistance walking and his speech is slowly worsening.

Soon he will not be able to drive.

But the 54-year-old and his wife, Jamie, eight-year-old Dalton and his step-children Corey and Courtney Marsh maintain their humour and positive attitude.

"I keep thinking of those kids in hospital who don't see outside their windows, born with a disease and don't see their first birthday," he said.

"I'm not happy I have this but I'm not going to sit back and feel sorry for myself.

"I've had 54 good years on this planet."

Mr Bartrum and his family have learnt never to take anything for granted.

"The benefits of dying this slow are that I get to tell my wife and kids how much I love them every day," he said.

Motor neurone disease causes the nerves which control our ability to speak, move, breathe and swallow to degenerate and die. There is no known cause or cure.

Mrs Bartrum said they still were not sure what to expect.

"It's hard because it's still quite fresh," she said. "We didn't know what MND was before this happened."

In August last year Mr Bartrum had to give up his job as a forklift operator on Curtis Island.

"It just got too dangerous for him and for those working with him," Mrs Bartrum said.

"I just keep on falling over; my wife is looking at buying me six metre of bubble wrap," Mr Bartrum joked.

A fundraiser for MND and Me will be held on Saturday from 11am-2pm at the Boyne Island River Cafe and Bistro.

Tickets are still available at the cafe and all funds raised go towards the foundation to support research and the hope for a cure.

Topics:  editors picks father's day gladstone motor neurone disease

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