We spoke to Ian and Rachael Flatt about their family's experience with MND. 56-year-old Ian was diagnosed with MND in early 2019 and receives care and treatment at the current Motor Neurone Disease Centre at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

Rachael and Ian speak about the impact MND has had on their lives, why we need a new centre in Leeds and the difference this would make to families like theirs. On May 4th 2022, Ian is climbing Snowdon in his off road wheelchair affectionately known as the Tangerine Dream Machine and will be raising funds for our Rob Burrow Centre for MND appeal and the MND Association. 

The Snowdon climb will pose Ian with a number of new challenges as he attempts the 3,200ft climb and a 9-mile trek.

Ian said, “The planning for this has been quite complex, we’ve obviously had to liaise with the Rangers and National Park in Snowdonia in terms of plotting a route which we believe is at least possible to get the TDM up and back down, they’ve been such a great help. We also have to design and fabricate some lightweight ramps, lifting equipment and special straps to attach to the TDM so that my friends can try and lift or pull me over some of the bigger obstacles.”

Ian also explained that a number of his nurses and doctors are coming on the climb with him, with the Leeds Respiratory Team also sourcing and providing him with a specialised, portable and light weight ventilator to ensure that he has breathing support whilst on the Mountain. It is envisaged that with a little bit of luck Ian should complete the climb and decent in around 10 hours, both the altitude and the duration pose a challenge to his body and compromised respiratory system.

“All of this planning has been great fun and wouldn’t have been possible without my friends, neighbours and the support of the Leeds MND Team and the MND Association.”

When asked why he called the challenge, 'What’s Your Mountain?' Ian explained, “We were reflecting on the first 100 Mile Trek with some friends, I was massively impacted by the fact that many of my friends had given up so much of their time to ensure the trek was possible and a success. I had friends who had lost family members to COVID, a friend who had been diagnosed with Cancer and other friends who had lost their business to the pandemic, and yet they all came to support us. One of them commented, ‘we all face our own Mountains Ian, is just so much easier doing it together!’ That planted the seed.”

“Rachael and I have been incredibly fortunate in the last couple of years to work with the MND Association and Leeds Hospitals Charity, through them we have met some very special people and not all of them are as lucky as we are in having a wide network of support through our local community and our wider friends and families. We absolutely understand the mountains many people face battling not just this cruel disease, but other illnesses too and whilst not everyone can join us on Mount Snowdon, we’d like people to know that we’re thinking of them and that we’d like them to join us however they can in facing their own mountains.”

Ian was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in March 2019 and will be climbing Snowdon to raise funds for the Leeds Hospitals Charity appeal to build the Rob Burrow MND Centre which will provide specialist care for people living with MND in Yorkshire, and for the MND Association who provide national support and assistance direct to the MND community alongside spearheading research into hopefully one day a cure.

Ian said, “Nothing like this centre currently exists and the vision is to pull together all of the specialist services required by MND sufferers and their families in a dignified space. A centre which provides respite, research, resources and overall a sense of hope for the MND community, and for the exceptional and extraordinary people who look after us.”

“We appreciate the incredible support we had in 2021 which raised over £22,800 and that times are difficult for all of us at the moment, any support, any donation you can give will make such a huge difference to families facing this disease without any treatment or cure.”

Support Ian's fundraising challenge here