Weir only getting started, says Doddie's foundation CEO
The CEO of the My Name'5 Doddie Foundation has welcomed the £50million commitment from the UK Government to help find a cure for Motor Neurone Disease (MND), but said it’s only a start to what’s required.
Jill Douglas, who heads up the foundation launched by Borders and Scotland rugby star Doddie Weir following his diagnosis for the debilitating condition, said the cash boost will act as a springboard to drive forward the campaign.
She said: “It’s by no means the answer, but it’s what we asked for to really focus on MND-targeted research. Now the responsibility is really on us as charities and industry to match that, because it's going to take more than £50m.
"Many millions have been spent so far, and we are making progress, and this will hopefully act as a catalyst to get us to where we want to be.
“There is a lot of work still to be done, but I’m absolutely delighted that our campaign has been successful and that the government has listened to what we said and recognised that what we are trying to achieve is so significant to the MND community.
"We still need our fundraisers to do what they have been doing for the last four years.
"If the government is putting up £50m, we have the responsibility maybe even match that over the next five years.”
It’s hard to believe that despite the hard work done by Doddie and the foundation over the last few years that there is still only one drug licensed in the UK to treat MND – Riluzole – which slows the progression of the disease and extends a sufferer’s life by a few months.
Earlier this week, Borders MP John Lamont, who has campaigned for the cash package and requested the funding as part of this year’s government spending review, said he was delighted.
He said: “I am over the moon that the UK Government has supported this £50m investment into MND to help find a cure. It forms part of a wider £375m investment into neurodegenerative diseases which devastate so many families across the Borders.
“I am proud to have played a part in pushing for this investment. However, it is the tireless campaigning of Doddie Weir, who has raised the profile of this awful disease and raised millions of pounds in the process through his charity that has made this all possible.
“His bravery and determination in the face of adversity has been awe inspiring when he could have so easily given up.
“The UK is a global leader in medical research and this investment will keep our brightest and best scientists at the forefront of the battle to find a cure.”