'Adrenaline junkie' with motor neurone disease scales Mount Snowdon
“I might be terminally ill, but my life isn’t over yet,” says Jason Liversidge as he reaches 3,560 foot summit.
Jason may be living with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) and virtually paralysed. But yesterday, accompanied by his wife Liz, and with the aid of his trusty 4x4 all-terrain wheelchair (aka ‘the Terminator’), he successfully reached the summit of 3,560 foot Mount Snowdon.
The challenge had taken months of intense planning and preparation. After an eight-hour gruelling trek, the 41-year-old former social worker and dad-of-two completed his toughest challenge yet.
It was a defiant declaration that his condition isn’t going to stand in the way of his determination and passion for adventure. The self-confessed ‘adrenaline junkie’ has already taken on the longest zip line in Europe, parasailed in Turkey and driven a Formula One-style car at Silverstone.
An amazing feeling
It was a hard and at times emotional climb for Jason over unsteady, rocky terrain. “I feel a bit overwhelmed – it’s an amazing feeling. Jason is living proof that if you want do something enough, you can achieve it,” said wife Liz on reaching the summit.
“It was just so inspiring how he coped over the steep terrain,” said Liz. “It has taken its toll on Jason because his muscles are very weak. But it was well worth it. It’s a huge achievement and it’s never been done before, so we’ve made history.”
In 2013, Jason, from East Yorkshire, was diagnosed with MND. It’s a rare, rapidly progressive terminal illness that damages the nervous system leading to weakness, muscle wasting, severe disability and paralysis.
Speaking about the devastating impact of Jason’s diagnosis, Liz said: “After the diagnosis I spent about three days crying. I’ve had to give up my job. We’ve had to adapt our lifestyle, we’ve had to adapt our house.”
Marie Curie Nurses have supported the couple through some of the most difficult times imaginable. “Jason needs 24-hour care so we really couldn’t cope without them,” says Liz. “They care for Jason through the night and give me the opportunity to get some sleep. We have two young children, so even though I’ve taken a career-break to care for him, we still need as much help as we can get.”
“Time is better spent living”
For Jason, challenges like Snowdon are an act of defiance: “It really means a lot to me. I used to be a fit and active bloke who loved skiing, grass tracking, motor biking and fast cars but as my condition has progressed, I can no longer shower, dress or feed myself. MND is killing me and has taken my independence, but while I’m still here, I won’t let it break my spirit and determination.”
“I might be terminally ill, but my life isn’t over just yet,” says Jason. “It would be really easy to hate my condition and let it consume my life, but the energy that hating it uses is far better spent living life.”