IT’S an incurable condition which can leave sufferers isolated and lonely.
Charcot-Marie-Tooth – or CMT for short – is a hereditary disease of the nervous system which affects motor and sensory skills.
Previously classified as a type of muscular dystrophy, CMT is a progressive condition which usually strikes in early middle age.
There is a 50% chance of the offspring of sufferers also developing the condition so many decide not to have children.
As many as one in 2,500 people are affected – potentially 23,000 in the UK.
But there is no need to deal with the disease alone.
Calderdale and Kirklees CMT Group meets in Huddersfield and is a small group with a big heart.
The group, which meets at the VAK Centre in Lord Street, currently has 24 members.
But the group believes that there are many others with the condition living in the local area.
Chairman Peter Stringer, 74, of Skelmanthorpe, said the group wanted to reach out to others.
“We are here to help people cope and to offer help and advice,’’ he said. “We are a small group but we have a lot of experience.
“We want to help people live as normal a life as possible.”
The group has entered the Examiner’s Wish campaign and hopes to win funding to boost its profile and support for members.
The group holds monthly meetings but sends out newsletters to those who can’t travel.
The group also organises social events to combat loneliness.
Mr Stringer’s wife Shirley, 73, was diagnosed with the condition 17 years ago. She is the group’s secretary.
Mr Stringer said the group’s members had varying degrees of disability – some could walk reasonably well while others could only take a few steps unaided.
“There must be many people in Calderdale and Kirklees who don’t know about us,” he said. “We want them to know we’re here.”
The group can be contacted on 01484 860532.