Liam Blaney, a quality data metrics analyst from Nottinghamshire, England, has always enjoyed leading an active lifestyle. He practiced karate for 30 years, until the day he noticed a change.

“I noticed I was walking flat-footed and my legs ached a lot,” Blaney says. “I was falling over frequently.”

Near the end of 2021, Blaney’s family persuaded him to see a doctor. Five days later, he received his diagnosis: motor neurone disease (MND). The condition has various symptoms—including muscle weakness and stiffening—that progress over time, eventually affecting an individual’s ability to walk, talk, eat and drink.

What to know about motor neurone disease (MND) 

In MND, motor neurones that control essential muscle activities degenerate over time. Currently, there is no known cure. 

  • MND is a relatively rare condition, affecting up to 5,000 adults in the U.K. at any one time 
  • MND affects adults of any age but is more common in people over 50 
  • Once MND has been diagnosed, the progression of symptoms can vary from individual to individual

Since his diagnosis, Blaney has adapted the way he works to maximize job performance. Fortunately, Blaney’s remote position has allowed him to develop a workstation best suited to his needs. His setup includes equipment that makes working easier: an ergonomic chair, an ergonomic computer mouse for each hand so he can alternate as needed, an adjustable-height desk, headphones, a footrest that eases the impact of sitting and swelling in his feet and speech recognition software that is installed and ready for use when necessary. 

“My work keeps me sane,” Blaney explains. “I am constantly busy, which occupies my mind and stops me from dwelling on any negativity. Labcorp has definitely made it possible to continue working while dealing with MND, and without the equipment I have received, I would not be enjoying my job as much as I do.” 

As he continues living with MND, Blaney has found new opportunities to spread awareness for individuals who use wheelchairs. With the support of friends, last year he climbed up Snowdon—the highest mountain in Wales—to raise funds for a nonprofit that supports those with spinal cord injuries. 

This year, Blaney knew climbing Snowdon would not be feasible due to the progression of his MND, so in June, he went on a new adventure: skydiving. The skydive—completed in tandem with an instructor—raised nearly 10,000 pounds (approximately $12,000) for the Motor Neurone Disease Association. It generated so much awareness around the disease that BBC News reached out to Blaney for an interview. For Blaney, the skydive experience was liberating. “After nearly two years stuck in a chair, I was free and the fact my legs don’t work didn’t matter. I was as thrilled and excited as the rest of my team,” he says. 

A member of EnABLE, Labcorp’s employee resource group (ERG) for individuals with disabilities, Blaney is also thankful for the encouragement he receives from other members of the group. 

“The help and support are there, at the end of an email or Teams message, from people who absolutely get it,” he says. “It is essential to have access to these groups and to be able to give feedback about processes that could be improved, even if just slightly. I have a feeling that the next employee who receives a similar diagnosis will be benefitting from my journey. I don’t go up mountains or jump out of planes to help myself—I do it for the next people dealt this awful hand. I think the growth of the EnABLE ERG is dependent on those of us affected in any way, shape or form speaking out and being heard. From what I can see, the future looks good.” 

From the lab to the office to the flight deck, we invite you to learn more about the people behind innovative science. See how our employees are improving health and improving lives while growing their careers at Labcorp. To learn more about Labcorp’s efforts in diversity and inclusion, explore our employee resource groups.