Boys slide for family fight against MND

ICE: Kobe Arrowsmith and Oscar Bishop with pop and great uncle, Graham Crooks. Picture: Phillip Biggs
ICE: Kobe Arrowsmith and Oscar Bishop with pop and great uncle, Graham Crooks. Picture: Phillip Biggs

Kobe Arrowsmith and Oscar Bishop are two young men on a mission to find a solution to a debilitating and personal disease. 

In September Oscar, 11, and Kobe, 9, decided they would attempt to raise $500 and take the plunge into an icy bath to help find a cure for motor neurone disease.

For many people MND is something they see or read about, but for the boys, it is an illness affecting their family. 

Kobe and Oscar’s great uncle and poppy, Graham Crooks is suffering from the devastating disease. 

In two years the young boys have watched Mr Crooks’ health deteriorate as the cruel scourge of MND progressively takes control and shuts down his body.

There is no cure.

Rather than watching and waiting, Kobe and Oscar raised $4000 from their friends, family and strangers to slide into the ice water for the Launceston Big Freeze – and help find a cure for MND.

Jenni Jones travels down the slide in the Quadrant Mall to freeze motor neurone disease. Picture: Neil Richardson

Jenni Jones travels down the slide in the Quadrant Mall to freeze motor neurone disease. Picture: Neil Richardson

Far exceeding their original fundraising goal of $500, it took the boys about three weeks to raise the mammoth sum.

“I heard it on the radio and pop had it [MND] so I decided I might do it,” Kobe said of his decision to slide.

For the boys, few words could describe their feelings towards Mr Crooks’ health other than; “sad, very sad”.

Kobe said his fundraising efforts would help pop; “can get more happier every day and the money goes to MND to help raise awareness”.

The night before the Saturday morning slide, a sense of trepidation crept over.

Oscar was not nervous about the freezing water – he was more concerned by the large crowd that would turn up to watch his efforts. 

Mr Crooks – who was diagnosed with MND in August, 2015 – struggles to speak.

When asked if he was proud of the boys’ efforts he said; “I am”.

A dressed-up Rashana Smith prepares to take the plunge into the icy pool below.

A dressed-up Rashana Smith prepares to take the plunge into the icy pool below.

Oscar’s mother Tanya Arrowsmith echoed her father’s pride and praised the children’s stand against MND.

She said the boys had witnessed first-hand how the disease took hold and dominated a person’s life.

“They have been around it since the start of dad’s diagnosis and they’ve seen the decline in his health since then,” she said.  

“They both understand what it can do to one individual person.

“They have a good understanding and I think that’s the drive behind them wanting to do something.”