THE husband of a woman who was diagnosed with a devastating illness this year is getting ready to abseil off a castle to fund research into the disease.

Mum-of-two Flo Campbell, from Darlington, was just 34 when she was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND), a degenerative condition which affects the brain and spinal cord.

Her husband Ross will be joined by a dozen other fundraisers from Darlington Bondgate Roundtable, who are taking part in the event to raise money for the MND Association.

Flo, now 35, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease earlier this year.

There is currently no cure for the progressive disease, which kills a third of people within a year of diagnosis.

Flo, who is an optometrist, has had to start using a wheelchair as her mobility has worsened.

The couple, who own Specsavers in Richmond and Northallerton, have two children, Rory, 5, and two-year-old Edith.

Ross, who is also an optometrist, said: "The guys at the Roundtable really wanted to do something to raise funds and awareness. It's a progressive and degenerative disease and currently the life expectancy is pretty short and there's not a lot of research. It's been devastating but we are trying to be as positive as we can and do what we can while we can."

He added: "Flo and I can't control the effect and progression of the disease, so we want to focus our attention on increasing awareness whilst fundraising as much as possible to help others living with MND, and also help fund vital research into treatments for this awful condition.

"The support received from our family and friends has been phenomenal."

Walworth Castle Hotel is working with Darlington Roundtable and Rof59 to stage the event on Sunday. Twelve members of the Roundtable will abseil off the castle, joined by Walworth's head chef Steven Myers who will complete the challenge before heading back to the kitchen to make Sunday lunches.

Ross has already raised more than £12,000 after running nine half marathons in six weeks, culminating with the Great North Run in September.

Sunday's abseil has so far raised about £1,500.

They want to raise £20,000, which would fund laboratory equipment for more than a year for research, or provide 40 people living with the condition a tablet device with communication software, allowing them to communicate with loved ones.

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