Brothers take on Kilimanjaro

Derek (left) and Graham Bryce will climb Mount Kilimanjaro in October in memory of their dad, Bill, who died from Motor Neurone Disease in July 2015.
Derek (left) and Graham Bryce will climb Mount Kilimanjaro in October in memory of their dad, Bill, who died from Motor Neurone Disease in July 2015.

Two brothers will be taking on Mount Kilimanjaro in memory of their dad who passed away from Motor Neurone Disease.

Bill Bryce, originally from Greenock but brought up on the Isle of Bute, was diagnosed with MND in September 2013, but sadly passed away from the disease in July 2015. Bill, a former Director at Doosan Babcock and Chairman of the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA), did a lot of public speaking in his job and in 2011 he first started to notice issues when he spoke. However it took two years to find out what was causing his slurred speech.

His two sons, Derek and Graham, will be heading off on October 15 to Tanzania, to attempt to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the world’s highest free-standing mountain, to raise money for MND Scotland.

Speaking of their dad’s experience, Graham, who now lives in Langbank, said: “We had both heard of Motor Neurone Disease but didn’t know much about what it was and how it affected people.

“We got lots of really useful information from MND Scotland which was a big help. Our dad’s speech was affected first and then he started to lose some use of his hands and arms. He used a pointer pen to control a computer, which would read out whatever he was typing. He also had a feeding tube inserted which helped him eat when he could no longer swallow.”

Derek, who has moved to Banchory, said: “Lots of people have said to us, ‘Your dad would have loved to do Kilimanjaro’, so it’s nice that we can do this in his memory. He was a very active man so if we’d done this a few years ago I’m sure he wouldn’t have let us go without him. We thought that by taking on a huge challenge like this one, people would be extra generous… and they have been! We originally set our target for £3,000 but quickly exceeded this and have now raised over £4,000. We are stunned by people’s generosity and hope we can continue to increase this amount over the next six months.”

Graham added: “MND Scotland does incredible work for those suffering from this devastating illness. During those two short years from diagnosis the charity provided the most incredible support to our family. They were able to give my dad the communications equipment that helped him stay connected to his friends and family. They also came to his house to give him massages through their complementary therapy service, and helped us get a stair lift installed to make his home more accessible. When he was diagnosed with MND, Bill also made the brave decision that when he passed away he wanted to donate samples of his brain tissue to help medical research in to the condition. Now it’s our turn to give something back. And we need your help. You can donate online at our JustGiving page.”

Derek said: “Every penny we raise will go directly to MND Scotland to help fund essential services, including the loan of communications equipment; ensuring that everyone has access to counselling; providing complementary therapy; providing local support groups; and enabling people to access the highest quality of information. You’ll also be funding the research that takes us a step closer to the day a cure is found for this cruel disease.”

Lisa Glenday, Community and Events Fundraiser at MND Scotland, said, “Having climbed Kilimanjaro myself, I know this trek will be a once in a lifetime experience for Derek and Graham and most certainly no easy challenge! The climb is a wonderful way to remember their father and I wish them the best of luck. We are extremely grateful that they have chosen to support MND Scotland, to help us continue to deliver support to people affected by MND across the country and fund vital research into finding a cure.

“We are pleased that we were able to make a difference and help support the Bryce family through this difficult journey. If you would like more information about how we can help, please visit www.mndscotland.org.uk.”