Next month, John Hamlin from Roundhay, Leeds will take on a gruelling fundraising challenge for our Rob Burrow Centre for Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Appeal and the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.

53-year-old John, a doctor at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, is running 165 miles from Melrose to Headingley to mark his late wife Susie’s 50th birthday and what would have been the couple’s 20th wedding anniversary.

Starting the run from Doddie’s home ground, Melrose Rugby Club in Scotland, on the 9th of September, John will arrive at Rob’s home stadium, Headingley, on the eve of what would have been Susie’s 50th birthday.

Susie, who was a Senior Dietitian on the Liver Transplant Unit at Leeds Teaching Hospitals sadly died from Motor Neurone Disease in 2018, leaving behind John and their two children, Millie and Harry who were just 13 and 8 at the time.

Susie was a proud Scot who encouraged their children to support the Scottish rugby team despite the family living in Leeds. The start and finish points of the run have been chosen to link the two areas and to acknowledge the rugby legends, Doddie Weir and Rob Burrow who have done so much to raise awareness of MND.

John was inspired to take on this challenge after watching Kevin Sinfield take on his Extra Mile Challenge in November, he told us:

“Motor Neurone Disease is a cruel condition, I watched the person I loved most being robbed of her independence and ultimately her life. Susie put her friends and family first and was absolutely devastated that she wasn’t going to get the chance to watch our children grow up.

“I have been totally in awe of Rob Burrow and Doddie Weir, who have both bravely shared their experience of living with MND, and wanted to contribute to their phenomenal fundraising efforts while marking two very special occasions.”

Thanks to his fundraising efforts, John has already raised an extraordinary £13,760.00 for both charities, before even starting his challenge.

Paul Watkins, Director of Fundraising at Leeds Hospitals Charity told us about the difference fundraisers like John make:

“John really has gone above and beyond with his fundraising efforts and I’m sure his wife Susie would be beaming with pride. It’s thanks to dedicated fundraisers like John that our Rob Burrow Centre for Motor Neurone Disease appeal has almost raised £2.5 million, helping us get even closer to making this wonderful centre for people living with MND and their loved ones a reality.”

My Name’5 Doddie Foundation CEO Jill Douglas said:

“What a tremendous effort from John, he is just inspiring. His support for the Foundation is greatly appreciated as we continue to work towards finding effective treatments for motor neuron disease and help people living with MND.”

“The number of amazing people who are currently taking on challenges to raise funds and awareness for the Foundation is quite something. The MND community is filled with very special people like John who are doing extraordinary things to give hope to anyone with an MND diagnosis.”

Donate to John's fundraising page 

John was interviewed by BBC Radio Leeds about his heroic fundraising efforts. The interview starts at 01:25:00, you can listen back here.