December 8 2013 Latest news:
Friday, September 13, 2013
A Gorleston man diagnosed with a rare disease is said to be “overwhelmed” by support from friends.
Ryan Harman, 33, has motor neurone disease, which affects an estimated two in 100,000 people in the UK.
The condition causes weakness through damage to the nervous system, and most cases develop when people are in their sixties.
But it can affect those as young as 18, and the footballer - who was a Cambridge United trainee and also played for Gorleston FC - was diagnosed this summer.
He got married to Natalie last year and friends say he is still fit and healthy.
And to focus on the positives - and raise cash for his treatment - they have organised a huge charity football match at Emerald Park on September 29.
Mr Harman did not want to talk about his condition first-hand, but his friends Martyn Sinclair, 40, of Gorleston, and Jon White, who together organised the match, spoke to the Mercury.
“We want to focus on doing what we can,” said Mr Sinclair. “At the moment he’s still very fit and healthy and can go to the gym and lead a reasonably normal life.
“He’s a private person and probably finds it overwhelming at times, but the response has been fantastic.”
A Facebook page for the appeal - www.facebook.com/groups/theryanappeal/ - has more than 900 members.
And Mr Sinclair is hoping that more than 500 people will flock to Emerald Park to show their support.
“We’ve raised a good sum of money before we’ve even kicked a ball” he added. “Ryan has seen the comments and seeing people say they’re going to attend. “He’s a nice lad who comes from a nice family that’s very well respected, and this has had a big impact on a lot of people.
“The impact has been enormous and fundraising has really taken off in the last two weeks.”
Money raised at the match will go direct to Ryan, to pay for treatment and let him to enjoy time with friends and family.
The two teams lining up for the match will be Gorleston Legends and Ryan Select XI.
It will kick off at 3pm on Sunday, September 29 and people are encouraged to attend.
There will be a licensed pre bar, refreshments, a raffle and quiz and pre-match entertainment.
Entry costs £5 for adults, £3 for concessions and £1 for under 16s.
To donate direct to the Ryan Appeal account, the sort code is 11-04-95 and the account number is 01212146.
People are asked to reference their name with any donation.
Further events are in the pipeline, and details will be printed in the Mercury.