MS sufferer who ran five desert marathons appeals to fund life-saving treatment

Ryan on the desert marathon

Ryan on the desert marathon - Credit: Archant

A man who ran five marathons in the Sahara Desert while secretly suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS) is on a crowdfunding mission to raise £85,000 for life-saving treatment.

Ryan Hill

Ryan Hill - Credit: Archant

Four years ago, Ryan Murray, 39, from Lower Clapton, conquered the Des Sables marathon – which is 5.5 marathons in six days across the desert.

But after being diagnosed with the disease a decade ago, his MS is now too bad for him to even work, let alone run.

He now hopes to raise enough money to fund life-changing MS treatment abroad which he hopes could help reduce – and hopefully reverse – some of the effects of the disease.

MS is a chronic and currently incurable disease where your immune system attacks the myelin that protects your nerves.

The symptoms present themselves in many different and unpredictable ways as it impacts your entire central nervous system.

Currently in the UK, people like Ryan are not entitled to the treatment he wants to receive until they have a certain number of relapses, or neurological ‘episodes’ – but each relapse can cause irreversible neurological damage like blindness, walking disability, speech and cognitive problems.

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Ryan said: “I remember feeling many emotions when I was diagnosed, in particular denial and extreme fear – somehow I had a chronic, incurable illness and I was in the prime of my life.

“Because I was always such an active person, a condition like MS was something that I feared more than anything else in the world. It took a lot for me to tell people because it’s such a life changing diagnosis and I just wanted to carry on being me.

“I knew I had to make some significant adjustments to my life, work, relationships and even friendships.

“The main thing I hope to gain from these treatments is to halt the progression of MS and hopefully repair some of the damage that has already been done. “This would mean I could go back to work full-time and start to resume a relatively normal life just doing the everyday things that most people take for granted like eating with a knife and fork, and to be able to plan for a future despite MS.”

Donate to Ryan’s campaign at