#SheInspires Leanne Sklavenitis

May 4, 2021

Each day in Australia two people are diagnosed with MND (Motor Neurone Disease) and each day in Australia two people die from MND.  This year on Thursday May 6th the MND & Me Foundation is holding their first Giving Day, being held during National MND Awareness Week (Sunday 2nd of May – Sunday 9th of May). This year a strong advocate for the Giving Day is award winning trainer, gym and group exercise instructor, Leanne Sklavenitis who was diagnosed with MND in September 2017.

With over 32 years in the health and wellness industry, Leanne’s focus had to pivot after her diagnosis and she has been instrumental in developing exercises for those affected by the disease which has led to her inspirational journey through this debilitating disease.

 Since diagnosis Leanne lost the ability to walk unaided, unable to move her hands and arms very much and then was unable to speak clearly, and now uses eye gaze equipment for communication.

 Despite this she emphasizes that exercising every day, even if only for ten minutes, is beneficial for the body and helps to relieve stiffness and mentally keeps you moving. Any movement which helps with stiffness is worthwhile.

Leanne’s vast experience has taught her that changing mindset, setting realistic goals, and developing solid plans of nutrition, will lead to overall life balance, ensuring you enjoy longevity in every area of your life. This premise is at the core of Leanne’s own life and the basis for her online programs. Combining mindset, exercise, and nutrition, fitnesstips.com.au is helping women over forty to feel amazing about themselves again, in every way!

MND has not dampened Leanne’s determination to live life and passionately advocates for wellbeing, despite the challenges this disease brings. Her mantra is “Live each day as if it’s your last”.

MND is the name used to describe a group of diseases in which the nerve cells (neurones) in the brain and spinal cord that control the way we walk, talk, eat, swallow, and breathe progressively die. In some countries, MND is known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), and in the US, it is also called Lou Gehrig’s disease. When the neurones begin to die, the muscles that they control can no longer receive messages from the brain. The muscles become weaker and weaker, and eventually stop working, leaving people motionless, unable to talk, and trapped in their bodies. In MND, no one person is the same – where the weakness first starts, how the weakness progresses, and the rate at which the weakness progresses is different from person to person. Although some people can live a long time with MND, the average life expectancy is 27 months following diagnosis.

The MND and Me Foundation’s Mission is To Care and To Cure, and if people donate on the dedicated Giving Day, every donation is matched by partner National Transport Insurance.

The MND and Me Foundation was established by Scott Sullivan, a husband and father of two children. Scott was diagnosed with MND in 2010 at the age of 38, and sadly died from MND in April 2014.

The Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that Scott formed to raise awareness of MND and its impact in the community. Scott saw a desperate need to assist people living with MND, as well as their families, to maintain their independence and quality of life for as long as possible.

Until a cure is found, it will continue to work together to help fund MND research and treatment initiatives to improve the lives of people diagnosed with MND.

To donate to the MND Giving Day please visit: www.mndandme.com.au