I first met Nick in 2000 when we moved into a house two doors up the road. Our kids were of a very similar age, and very soon the "two boys" were running up the road to see if the "two girls" wanted to come out to play. In fact it was usually the two girls going down to the Laver's house, because there are always many more exciting toys to play with in a boy's house.
Nick didn't really mention Mike - over a beer he would mention helicopters and RAF in passing. But it was clear they were close.
Then a few years ago Nick asked if I wanted to join him on the first MonsterSki. He was going with his brother to ski five Everests in six resorts over six days. It was a huge success, and Monsterski 2 and 3 followed. Little by little Nick told me how MonsterSki had come about. I learned a little about Multiple Sclerosis and what had happened to Mike.
Born in Montrose, Mike grew up in Edinburgh and learned to ski while at school. With a life-long love of flying, and with a family history in aviation, starting with a grandfather in the Royal Flying Corps, he joined the RAF as a pilot. However, after a series of seemingly unconnected medical events throughout his career, Mike was eventually diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in late 2005. For him, having a diagnosis was almost a relief and has allowed him to focus on his future in a completely different way. As Mike has now been medically discharged from the RAF, he has put his energies to other uses and has returned to college to learn fine-furniture making, an interest which started when Mike watched his grandfather work at his bench when he was young.
Mike was a helicopter pilot with the RAF. He served his country well, flying missions in the first Gulf War and then the more recent operations in Iraq. A leader of men, an expert in his specialist field, a former British Helicopter Champion, and above all a passionate aviator. But then he was diagnosed as having Multiple Sclerosis.
Discharged from the RAF on medical grounds he was left without his job, his career, or his vocation - to fly. That would be enough to bring anyone down. But Mike refused to be bowed, and relentlessly pursued the positive. MonsterSki is only one example of the way in which he has sought to take a positive approach to life.
When you hear Mike's story it puts day to day worries and irritations into perspective. It inspires us (and we hope you too), to be both positive and to help others. That's why we accepted the challenge of MonsterSki4 due to take place in April 2010.
Last Updated on Saturday, 19 September 2009 11:07
Written by John
Saturday, 05 September 2009 16:06
No matter what you give, your donation will make a difference to the lives of MS sufferers, whether they have mobility problems, problems with speech, crippling fatigue, blindness or all of these. But equally as importantly, even by visiting this web site you will have seen that MS does not need to be the end of their worlds. This is part of monsterski too: debunking some myths. Remarkably, for those with MS, life spans are increasing more than those in general populations, through careful use of diet, exercise and attitude. By staying fit and as healthy as you are able to, even those with MS can live as active a life as anyone else and occasionally do even more. This was our reason for monsterski – to show that it is possible if you try.
We are now seeking sponsorship. It's easy. Just go to our Just Giving page and donate now.
Last Updated on Saturday, 19 September 2009 17:10
Thank you for all your help. This site is now dormant, but please feel free to explore.