Courageous 100-mile trek by MND man to raise money for the Rob Burrow Centre for Motor Neurone Disease in Leeds

A man with Motor Neurone Disease has begun an incredible mission to trek 100 miles of Yorkshire - despite needing a ventilator for 16 hours a day - to raise funds for the new Rob Burrow Centre for Motor Neurone Disease in Leeds.

Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 4:45 am

Ian Flatt, 56, is not letting his terminal condition get in the way of supporting Leeds Hospitals Charity’s appeal to build a new £5m state-of the-art centre to improve care for those with MND.

The dad-of-two, who was diagnosed in 2019 - just months before Leeds Rhinos’ legend Rob Burrow received his diagnosis - is treated by the team at the current MND centre which is based in dated conditions at Seacroft Hospital.

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Ian Flatt who was diagnosed with terminal Motor Neurone Disease (MND) has begun a 100-mile challenge in support of Leeds Hospitals Charity. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Describing the current centre as a “depressing environment”, Ian said a new, fit-for-purpose building “would make a vital difference to people like me and our loved ones".

“If you can imagine having all that under one roof, in an environment that can offer dignity and some hope - I think that would be just incredible,” he added.

Ian’s inspirational 100-mile trek will take him over the North Yorkshire Moors and the Yorkshire Wolds before finishing at Robin Hood’s Bay in around four weeks’ time.

It follows a similar 100-mile trek he completed earlier this summer, when he managed to raise £17,000 for St Michael’s Hospice and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Ian Flatt sets off on his 100-mile challenge. Pictured with his wife Rachael on the Sutton Bank circuit. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

He said: “The walk earlier this year was so exhilarating, it was one of the best times of my life, it was just so beautiful. It gave me a huge sense of purpose and positive to receive such support from the public and raise over £17k for charities. I hope to reach a similarly impressive figure this time round.”

With Ian’s condition largely affecting his respiratory system, he needs to use a ventilator to boost his oxygen levels for 16 hours a day so during the challenge, he will use a portable ventilator, which plugs into his car, to receive oxygen before and after his walks.

Ian, of York, said: “It makes breathing so much easier so that when I’m off it, I have so much energy,” adding: “What the team does - and this is why I’m so inspired by Dr Jung and her team - is they find ways to make it work. They find ways to help us maintain as much fun and as much freedom and as much spontaneity as we can. They monitor my respiratory system constantly. They are brilliant.”

Esther Wakeman, chief executive of Leeds Hospitals Charity hopes the new centre will provide a space for patients and their loved ones to enjoy special moments together and spark a change to MND care across the nation.

She said: “I can envisage our centre becoming a flagship in the UK and I hope that this will inspire others to replicate this up and down the country, offering thousands of MND sufferers the best quality of life and help us get closer to finding a cure one day. Ian is a tremendous inspiration to all of us, and we will cheer him on every step of his 100-mile challenge.”

To sponsor Ian’s fundraising walk visit https://leedshospitalscharity.enthuse.com/pf/ian-flatt-09a83

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