Daughter to take daring leap from plane in memory of father

Demi-Leigh Rowland.

Demi-Leigh Rowland will be skydiving to raise money for the MND Association. - Credit: Demi-Leigh Rowland.

A 19-year-old woman will take a dramatic leap in the memory of her father.

Ryan Harman before contacting MND.

Ryan Harman was 35 when he died from Motor Neurone Disease. - Credit: Demi-Leigh Rowland.

Demi-Leigh Rowland, from Great Yarmouth, will be skydiving on August 9 at Beccles Airfield to fundraise for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Miss Rowland's father, Ryan Harman, died of the debilitating disease on February 13, 2016.

Mr Harman, a popular player for Gorleston Football Club, died after a three-year battle with Motor Neurone Disease. He was 35 years old.

Miss Rowland reminisced about her father's daring side and how he would often wear a fake moustache around town after he had contracted the disease.

"He wanted to give people more of a reason to look and stare at him," Miss Rowland said.

Ryan Harman and Demi-Leigh Rowland when she was a child.

Demi-Leigh was inspired by her father's ability to "take things one step further". - Credit: Demi-Leigh Rowland.

When asked about her decision to skydive, Miss Rowland added: "Dad was always one who liked to take it one step further, so I thought I could jump out of a plane."

"I keep messaging people who have jumped from a plane before and they keep telling me it's amazing, but I can't think of anything worse, to be honest.

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"But, this means a lot to me, so I thought I would go all out."

Ryan Harman with his children.

Ryan Harman was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in 2012. - Credit: Demi-Leigh Rowland

Six people per day are diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in the UK and up to 5,000 people in the UK are affected at any one time.

It attacks the nerves that control movement, so muscles no longer work, leaving people locked in a failing body, unable to move, talk and eventually breathe.  

It kills a third of people within a year and more than half within two years of diagnosis.

There is no cure.

Ryan Harman with Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen during his VIP experience

Ryan Harman with Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen during his VIP experience. - Credit: Archant

The MND Association was founded in 1979 by a group of volunteers with experience of living with or caring for someone with MND.

The MNDA focuses on improving access to care, research and campaigning for those people living with or affected by MND in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Its mission is to improve care and support for people with MND, their families and carers, as well as funding research that leads to new understanding and treatments, and one day, a cure for MND.

To make a donation, please visit Demi's GoFundMe page.