Mates run for stricken woman

ISOBEL EWING
Last updated 05:00 12/07/2014
Jenna Drought
ANDY JACKSON/Fairfax NZ

FOR HER: Matt Cleaver, left, Warren Drought & Joe Morton are all raising money for Warren's daughter Jenna Drought who has rare auto-immune disease Tumefactive Multiple Sclerosis.

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A father and his mates will spend 18 hours running around Mt Taranaki to help fund expensive treatment for his daughter's rare illness.

Jenna Drought, 26, was diagnosed with tumefactive multiple sclerosis in August last year.

She is currently undergoing treatment which costs about $3000 per monthly dose.

A group of eight of Jenna's friends raised $26,705 last year, but this was starting to run out, her father Warren Drought said.

To help ease the financial pressure, Drought, Matt Cleaver, Joe Morton and their 13 team-mates will run the Taranaki Steelformer's Around the Mountain Relay twice this year, back-to-back. They hope to raise $18,000 to cover six months of treatment.

They'll run about 40km each and have made a pact to not sleep, Cleaver said.

"It'll be tough but that's the least we can do."

Morton, a singer and songwriter who this year released his debut single Giants on iTunes, will also play a fundraising gig at the Mayfair on Friday July 18.

All proceeds of the $20 tickets will go toward Jenna's treatment.

As a result of the illness, Jenna suffers cognitive dysfunction, slurred speech, impaired vision and weakness of limbs, but Tysabri, the only drug she has responded to, is not funded in New Zealand.

Drought said they don't know how long Jenna will need the drug, but 70 per cent of people who came off had a relapse.

"Because the illness attacks her brain, if she has a relapse it could be catastrophic."

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- Taranaki Daily News

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