Finding Sense Of Belonging


Flight Lieutenant Ryan Mostyn’s decision to prioritise fitness came about after a multiple sclerosis diagnosis in March last year.

His first big personal challenge was last year’s 14km Sydney City to Surf event, which he completed in a respectable one hour and 9 minutes.

His next is the 2024 Warrior Games in Florida.

The annual adaptive sports competition, which provides wounded, injured and ill serving and former serving military members the opportunity to test their sporting prowess in a range of sports, also supports rehabilitation and recovery.

It’s being held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida, from June 21-30.

Flight Lieutenant Mostyn’s official diagnosis came a number of years after he started demonstrating random symptoms in 2016 – vision problems, occasional tingling sensations in his hands and legs, confusion and a general sense of feeling unwell.

In September 2022 things got considerably worse with a headache that lasted weeks and eyelid twitches that would come and go. He was also super cranky, which was atypical behaviour.

It was early last year when five lesions on his brain were identified following MRI scans, and a multiple sclerosis diagnosis was confirmed.

“The reality is that I have a disease that could, at some point, potentially completely disable me and put me in a wheelchair,” Flight Lieutenant Mostyn said.

“I was like, what can I do to beat this? That’s where I found my motivation to actively look after my health and get more fit.

“There’s been good research into this. Good fitness can reduce relapses and help with strength, so that’s my goal.”

While running is proving to be a good release, the 33-year-old acknowledges the diagnosis has caused him to rethink his future.

He has momentarily paused training for his commercial pilot’s licence and has started studying a Post Graduate Diploma in Psychology.

After starting his career as a firefighter in 2009 and working with the Federation Guard in 2015, he is currently posted to 1 Expeditionary Health Squadron detachment in Richmond as an environmental officer, but is unsure what his military future will look like.

One thing he is certain about is that sporting success is not tied to a podium finish, although he does expect his competitive nature will come to the fore during the 800m and 1500m races while partner Cielo watches on.

As for discus, shooting and sitting volleyball – all of which are new to him – Flight Lieutenant Mostyn simply said he was just excited to be part of the Australian team.

“I want to make the most of the opportunities presented to me, continue to maintain an active lifestyle and network with a group of other people with connections to Defence who are similarly going through their own health battles,” he said.

“It’s important to have people around you who are supporting you. I’ve had my mum and Cielo by my side. I also have close friends I can chat to about everything and that’s important because the priorities in my life have changed.

“Being part of the Warrior Games will bring a different sense of belonging and I am grateful for that.”

/Public Release. View in full here.