SHE IS so scared of heights that she avoids flying – even for a holiday.
But now Kim Wheeler, 42, will tackle her fear head on by abseiling off the Forth Bridge to raise awareness of Motor Neurone Disease (MND).
Kim, who is married to Ray, 51, and mum to Lauren, 19, lives in Edinburgh, just ten minutes away from her parents. Kim’s father, David Croy, 73, was diagnosed with the terminal illness 15 months ago.
Beginning with weakening muscles on the left hand side of his body, the great-grandfather of ten was given a life expectancy of just two years.
Kim, a qualified nurse, remembers the day her dad received his diagnosis. She said: “He went to see the consultant on his own. No-one expected what was about to come. He just thought the consultant was going to give him more physio or he’d get some medication.
“It’s been really difficult for the whole family, especially my mum. She was so upset when she found out, but we’ve all pulled together. My dad is the kind of man who doesn’t let anything get in his way.
“He was told two years but I think he’ll pass that. He’s doing OK; he’s still driving at the moment, driving helps him keep his independence – he can go to the shops, put a bet on at the bookies and just get out and about.
“I worry that if that stops, he’ll give up. He’s already had to give up gardening which was a huge passion of his – his pride and joy. But he still has a good attitude and often says, ‘You know what, I’ve had a really good life.’
Some people who have MND may also experience changes in their behaviour, personality and the way they think. Kim said: “This has been difficult for us as a family. Physically he can still do a lot of things for himself. Some days are better than others, but he is a fighter and never gives up trying.
“He’s the youngest of ten and he’s the only one of all his siblings not to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. He’s taking part in a research project in Edinburgh’s Anne Rowling Clinic to see if there is a genetic link to Alzheimer’s and MND.”
Iain McWhirter, head of fundraising and volunteering at MND Scotland, said: “I think Kim is so brave facing up to her fears like this. It’s people like Kim, who show courage in the face of a devastating illness, that are making a real difference.”
To donate to Kim’s fundraising total visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kimwheeler1
To sign up for a Forth Bridge Abseil for MND Scotland on June 10 or October 21, visit: www.mndscotland.org.uk/events.