A Uttoxeter man battling a terminal illness is continuing with his selfless work to help fellow sufferers even though his condition may be in its final stages.
Nick Brittlebank is fighting Motor Neurone Disease (MND), made famous by scientist Stephen Hawking's biology-defying 50-year battle against the crippling illness.
Dr Hawking's success in staying alive so long is completely unique and MND kills most sufferers within a year of diagnosis.
It attacks nerves in the brain and spinal cord and there is no cure. Nick is wheelchair-bound and unable to move from the neck down.
The 46-year-old former builder has already surpassed his life expectancy by nearly a year, but sadly could die any day. Married to Sue and father to 11-year-old Ryan, Nick is spending the time he has left giving back to the Staffordshire branch of the Motor Neurone Disease Association.
He and Sue manned a charity stand at the recent Lark in the Park family fun day at Bramshall Road Park, Uttoxeter - and managed to raise £700.
Nick, of Lark Rise, said: "It made me so happy knowing I could help someone else and do my bit for a good cause.
"It made me feel useful when I've felt so frustrated and unable to do anything for anyone for so long. I want to thank all the businesses who donated raffle and tombola prizes, including Alton Towers, the White Hart and Mitchell and Smith.
"The MND Association has been so amazing in helping my family and I through this awful illness and I want to do everything I can to raise awareness and funds in the time I have left."
Sue now fears Nick's illness is moving into its final stages as he increasingly struggles to breathe.
She said: "In the last few months, things have started to get a lot worse. He needs his ventilator a lot more now and the breathing going usually signals the final stages.
"It's making me feel absolutely terrified, because I know what's coming and just feel numb inside. I just wish there was something I could do, but all anyone can do it try to keep him comfortable.
"I've got to watch him struggle and it's just so, so cruel. Ryan and I are sitting here, waiting for that terrible moment. I thought it was coming last week, when Nick was in bed, choking. It was terrifying. Ryan seems to be coping well, but has told me he is frightened too."
Remarkably, although only around 5,000 of the 65 million people in the UK suffer from MND, two live in Uttoxeter, which has an estimated population of just 13,000.
Nick has become friends with fellow-sufferer Brian Rowe, 76, who has defied medics to survive with MND for eight years. He credits his strong Christian faith with his success.
Speaking before the pair completed a fund-raising wheelchair ride earlier this year, Brian said: "My Christian faith and friends at Renew Church, in Uttoxeter, has been a huge part of my ability to stay positive over the years. I put my life in the hands of God."
More information on the MND Association is available online at www.mndassociation.org