On Saturday 26th May 2018, Jude will be taking on a 14 day motorcycle challenge across 9 countries and 13 borders to raise money for Kirkwood Hospice, in memory of her son, Jody.
This is Jude’s heart-warming story…
Jody De Vos was a remarkable young man who lived his life to the full. His passion was to travel, which took him to many countries around the world. In particular, he fell in love with Australia. In 2013, a perfect job opportunity presented itself in Sydney and Jody moved there to live his dream.
Jody was happily living in Australia when his life, and that of his family, was changed forever. He was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease at the age of just 36. Jody continued to live his dream in Australia for as long he could after his diagnosis.
As his condition took hold, he reluctantly returned to the UK.
Jody moved in with his mum, Jude, in Holmfirth. By this stage, Jody’s Motor Neurone Disease was rapidly progressing. His weight had dropped from 74kg to 48kg. Over time, Jody lost the ability to walk, write, eat and speak. It became more and more difficult for him to breathe. His condition was terminal.
Throughout this unimaginable ordeal, Jude was by Jody’s side.
Jude said: “I have always had a brilliant relationship with Jody. I was extremely proud to have a son who was so independent and free-spirited. Even in the months before he died, Jody was still ticking things off his Bucket List. This included appearing in a double page spread in the Gay Times, raising awareness of how Motor Neurone Disease affects all communities.
“We talked about the fact he was dying. He planned his own funeral right down to which music should be played.
“Even though Jody desperately wanted to live, he got to a point where he accepted his death.”
Jody was a frequent visitor to Kirkwood’s Support & TherapyCentre during his illness. He enjoyed the aromatherapy that the Hospice provided, which helped to relax his muscles. Motor Neurone Disease often causes muscles to seize, so this was a particular relief for him. Jody was also an in-patient at Kirkwood on three separate occasions.
“When he died in January 2017, I had him cremated with his passport in his top pocket and a bag of Maltesers in his hand, his favourite chocolate. The only flowers that were allowed were the sunflowers that adorned his coffin. Sunflowers were always his favourite and are bright and colourful, just like Jody was.”