Stephen, 65, has primary lateral sclerosis, a rare form of motor neurone disease (MND). A year ago, he started getting support from the rehabilitation team at Mountbatten.

“I was reluctant to come at first, I thought it would just remind me that I had this illness. But it was the exact opposite – it helped me to live my life again.”

“On my first visit, I would try to stand up, and I’d have to have something in front of me in case I fell.

“One of the exercises they gave me was punching with boxing gloves while swinging side to side to help my core strength. One week, I was doing it and suddenly realised I’d been standing by myself for 20 minutes. That wasn’t something I could normally do.”

“After six weeks of weekly gym sessions, I could stand up independently in the middle of the room and not be worried at all.”

Stephen lives independently at home with his wife, Debbie, and is passionate about maintaining his mobility, often going on a 30-minute walk in the mornings and then using his motorised scooter to go out later in the day.

However, in a recent fall from his scooter, Stephen broke his femur and was admitted to Mountbatten’s inpatient unit to help him recover.

“When I was first in hospital after the fall, I was very weak, and I couldn’t walk at all. But from the moment I came into Mountbatten, I started getting better.”

On the inpatient unit, nurses and carers gave Stephen 24/7 help with washing, walking and pain management while he got back on his feet.

Every day, he went to the rehabilitation gym in the Hazel Centre, where the team adjusted his exercises to help him heal while maintaining his strength.

“Sometimes people won’t let me do things by myself because they think it’s dangerous. Here, they’re experts in MND and know me, so they know what I can do. They know how far to push me and my limitations.”

After a three-week stay on the inpatient unit, Stephen was well enough to go back to living at home, although he’ll continue to visit the Hazel Centre for his weekly gym sessions.

“I’m so grateful for being looked after here. Everyone is so caring, and nothing is too much for them to do.

“It’s such a happy place, I can’t believe I was once afraid to come here. I’m glad my wife encouraged me! Getting help from Mountbatten was the best thing I ever did.”

Thanks to your support, people in Southampton and large parts of Hampshire with any life-limiting illness can access our expert care when they need it.

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