2 May 2011 - Fans of leading Victorian reinsman Chris Alford are urged to get behind a major fundraising and awareness initiative he will undertake this month in support of NF Australia and The Children’s Tumor Foundation of Australia.
Neurofibromatosis (NF) is one of the most common genetic conditions in the world – more prevalent, in fact, than Cystic Fibrosis, Duchene Muscular Dystrophy and Huntington’s Disease combined.
The most common form of the illness (NF1) affects one in 3000 people and causes tumours to grow along the nerves, anywhere inside or outside the body. It is impossible to know how mildly or severely NF will affect any one person but common problems include deafness, blindness, bone deformities, brain and spine tumours, disfigurement and learning difficulties. The popular Bolinda horseman has a close personal link to the little known or understood affliction – his three-year-old daughter Katie was diagnosed with NF1 in July last year. The devastating news prompted Alford and his wife Alison to dedicate themselves to finding a means to educate the wider community about the genetic condition. They also committed to raise money to support research, in the hope of creating a brighter outlook for those with NF by ultimately uncovering a cure. The May promotion has been dubbed “Racing for a NF Free Future” and is supported by Harness Racing Victoria - Alford has been granted approval to wear special orange and black NF promotional colours in all his driving engagements for the month. Bendigo punters will get two more opportunities to help Alford make a difference in the race for an NF cure with racing at Lord's Raceway Wednesday night 11 May and Thursday night 26 May. It is hoped the highly visible prompt will encourage members of the harness racing media to back his project by promoting the initiative at every possible opportunity during May. Alison Alford said, “We have already been overwhelmed by the support of people in the harness racing industry. Katie’s diagnosis really knocked us around, especially Chris. I can’t even begin to explain the rollercoaster ride you go on when your child is diagnosed with something that there is no cure for, which is why in the end we felt we had to do something productive. “When we were throwing around ideas, I told Chris I was concerned about doing something so public but he wasn’t at all fazed and felt that there was no better way of showing her to be proud of who she is. “The day Katie was diagnosed with NF, I promised that I would never let NF define who she was. I don’t ever want to hear her say “I live with NF”. As far as I’m concerned , NF Lives with her and is just one of the many things that makes her the person she is. So here we are! “I just hope that the trainers and owners get on board with him. It’s as much about raising awareness through the colours as it is about raising funds.” Alford’s fans, fellow drivers, corporate sponsors, country clubs and supporters from all walks of the harness racing community are also encouraged to become involved by pledging a donation to the very worthwhile cause. It could be a specified dollar amount for every winner he drives during May, every drive he secures for the month or perhaps every time he finishes at the tail of the field. Alternately, you may wish to provide a donation, either by direct deposit or cheque, made payable to NFAA. All donations over $2 are tax deductible. To secure a pledge form, make a donation or for further information, contact Chris and Alison Alford on 0412 995 538 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information about NF, visit www.nfaa.org.au