Topic / News

Mastering Mountains Grant

The Mastering Mountains Grant was established to encourage people with MS to adopt a healthy lifestyle, shoot for their full physical potential, and also to change society’s perceptions of MS and exactly what can be possible post-diagnosis

OMS could not be more chuffed to be a sponsor of the Mastering Mountains Grant, by providing Professor Jelinek’s book Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis: The evidence-based 7 step recovery program to each grant recipient.

The principles behind the grant

The Mastering Mountains grant is offered to people living with MS in New Zealand by the Mastering Mountains Charitable Trust and the Multiple Sclerosis Society of New Zealand. The annual grant helps the recipient fund a personal challenge, an outdoor adventure, or overcoming an obstacle.

The grant was established to encourage people with MS to adopt a healthy lifestyle, shoot for their full physical potential, and also to change society’s perceptions of MS and exactly what can be possible post-diagnosis.

Sue's expedition 

Currently in its very first year, Nick Allen, the man behind the grant, was thrilled to pass the details on to us of its inaugural recipient, Sue Dela Rue. Sue’s goal is to walk over Mt Maungatautari in Pukeatua, New Zealand, where she works as the Administration Manager at the Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust.

On Sue’s to-do list for three whole years, the feat involves walking from the north to the south side, a track of about 13kms, which ascends 500m, and which Sue estimates will take about five hours to complete.

Sue’s motivation stems from the enjoyment she gets from her job, but also the frustration she feels when she is called into the visitor centre to talk with visitors about the sanctuary and its tracks, without having experienced them herself, and therefore relying purely on other people’s anecdotes.

With the help of the Mastering Mountains grant, Sue intends to put herself and her MS through their paces with a personal trainer in order to rebuild fitness and prepare for the route.

This, they estimate, will take six months. Once she has walked the walk, she is hoping to look back on the experience having socked it to MS, achieved something that has previously been out of reach, and having made amazing memories with her very active daughter.

Nick's story

Nick also knows all about the perceived, and the very real, limitations of Multiple Sclerosis. Nick Allen aimed high with his ambitions from a very early age, naming the ascent of none other than Mount Everest as his life goal. And as he grew up he began to realise his outdoor pursuits in earnest.

But his mountain climbing was in its relative infancy when, at the age of 21, his health took a devastating turn and the slowly debilitating symptoms of MS began to manifest themselves.

Frustration after frustration followed, but it was only four years later, and wheelchair-bound, that the full diagnosis of Primary Progressive MS came. In Nick’s words, “mountains began to represent the impossible and insurmountable, a failed dream.”

Well, a man whose childhood goal was to climb the world’s highest mountain was not about to admit defeat so readily, and decided that he had the power to change his outcome.

He dedicated himself to his recovery using the Jelinek lifestyle, working with a physical therapist and a personal trainer and overhauling his entire diet to root out any components which were doing anything other than helping him achieve that full recovery.

Recover he did, to the point where he had the doctors scratching their heads and querying the diagnosis of Primary Progressive MS. And, here’s the big hurrah, he made it to Mount Everest Base Camp

! But Nick’s story is a tale in itself, and one which you are invited to read in his book To the Summit. Nick will be updating us on Sue’s challenge when the time comes, and also a few more of his own adventures which are already in the pipeline. We look forward to hearing more, and wish them both the very best of luck!