Members of the futures industry have a long history of rising to challenges placed before them. And when that challenge is made in the name of supporting one of their peers and friends, especially in a fun but competitive environment, all the better.
So, when London-based INTL FCStone executive Nick Spencer Skeen approached ION’s Keith Todd with a proposal to organize a cricket tournament in honour of their friend David Setters, there was only one question—when can we do it? So was born the inaugural David Setters Trophy, held on June 13 in the grounds of the Honourable Artillery Company in the City of London.
The aim of the day is to raise awareness of motor neurone disease, known as ALS in the Americas. MND is characterized by the progressive degeneration of the motor nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. It results in the wasting of muscles, causing increasing loss of mobility in the limbs as well as difficulties with speaking, swallowing and breathing. Worldwide there are approximately 140,000 new cases diagnosed each year. In the U.K. alone, it claims the lives of six people every day; killing a third of those diagnosed within a year, and over half within two years.
David was diagnosed with MND five and a half years ago. With typical strength of character, he considers himself lucky. While the disease has robbed him gradually of the use of his hands and arms and is now weakening his neck and upper body, forcing him to use a wheelchair on an increasingly frequent basis, he still has his voice. Using voice recognition software, he continues to write about his experiences and campaign on behalf of those who are no longer able to speak or whose lives have been claimed much more rapidly by this cruel disease.
The day will see four teams—with INTL FC Stone and ION joined by London Metal Exchange and FIA—play against each other with the two best teams facing one another in the final. Funds raised from sponsors and spectators will be donated to the Motor Neurone Disease Association through City Against MND, a group founded by David to promote the work of the MND Association and raise funds on its behalf among the City community in which he is well known and highly regarded.
City Against MND is just the latest in a growing list of initiatives undertaken by David to make sure that the world hears from those whose voices have been robbed by the disease. Since his diagnosis, he has become a Campaigns Contact for the MND Association, speaking to politicians and the providers of social and health care to call for a fairer allocation of resources for those with the disease. He has been instrumental in a number of charitable activities, ranging from garden fetes in his local village to a fiendishly difficult quiz night in the City at the beginning of the year. This was attended by Chris Broad, the former England cricketer, whose wife died of the disease in 2010 and in whose name the family set up the Broad Appeal to raise funds for the MND Association. David also was involved in the famous Ice Bucket Challenge two years ago, when many in the industry, including FIA’s own Walt Lukken, rose to the challenge in honor and support of David.
“I have been very moved by the support I have had from my friends in the futures industry since my diagnosis,” says David, the founder of industry publication FOW and now a consultant with Contango Markets. “I have seen how the lives of young families can be devastated by this disease, so raising awareness among the financial community is all important to me, because that, in turn, will help attract the research funds we need to find a cure.”
With the David Setters Cricket Trophy it is the turn of the futures industry to make a noise on David’s behalf. To make the day even more entertaining, each team has to include at least one player from a non-cricket playing country and at least one woman. The day promises to raise much-needed funds for research into the disease, and will, of course, be a lot of fun.
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