Borders rugby legend Doddie Weir has marked the first anniversary of revealing that he’d been diagnosed with motor neurone disease by handing over £100,000 for research into the incurable condition.
It was on Global MND Awareness Day last year that the former Scotland international told the world of his diagnosis six months previously, and on the same day this year he presented MND Scotland with money raised by the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, one of two charities he’s set up in the meantime.
His £100,000 donation will help keep the charity’s grant scheme going.
MND Scotland offers three different grants to people affected by the illness to help meet some of the extra costs sufferers face.
They can be used to help buy equipment or make adaptations to homes, for power-of-attorney fees or taxis to appointments, or to allow families to have a last holiday together.
The 47-year-old, of Blainslie, said: “The generosity and support we have received from all quarters since we launched My Name’5 Doddie Foundation has been incredible.
“From the start, I wanted to do something to help people going through the same as me.
“When you are diagnosed with motor neurone disease, the future for you and your family is so terribly bleak.
“We are committed to helping find a cure for this devastating disease while also helping people affected by MND.
“We have already made some individual awards to families, but we also recognise that MND Scotland has the experience and resources to help those who need it most.
“That is why we are delighted to have committed £100,000 to MND Scotland to allow them to use their grant system to make sure the funds we have raised are directed in the most effective way.
“We are also talking to the MND Association in England and will have further announcements in the next few weeks about how we hope to support fellow sufferers.”
The former Melrose player, capped 61 times for Scotland between 1990 and 2000, met one of the beneficiaries of the grant scheme – Jim Grant, 75, of Edinburgh, diagnosed with MND in January 2000 – while handing over a cheque to Lawrence Cowan, the charity’s chairman.
Mr Cowan said: “We are extremely grateful to Doddie’s foundation for making this generous contribution to our grants this year.
“Last year, MND Scotland awarded 270 grants to 183 people in desperate need of financial help, totaling £225,000.
“Doddie’s support will go a long way in helping us deliver these essential grants this year to help people affected by this devastating disease.
“By working together, we will transform MND care in Scotland.”
MND sufferers wishing to apply for grants can find out more at www.mndscotland.org.uk/grants.
Weir also marked this year’s awareness day, last Thursday, by handing over an award in memory of MND campaigner Gordon Aikman to Lucy Lintott, the youngest of the 450-plus people in Scotland currently fighting MND, at a ceremony held in Edinburgh.
Lucy, 24, of Moray, was diagnosed with MND five years ago and has been raising money – £170,000 and counting –to help others facing the same plight ever since.
The former Newcastle Falcons lock said: “It is fantastic to meet Lucy, something I have been wanting to do since watching her incredibly honest and moving documentary about her life with MND.
“Lucy has taken a devastating diagnosis and turned it into a positive. Her fundraising efforts and work to educate people about MND are inspiring and an example to us all.”
“I am humbled and delighted to present her with this award, while also recognising the huge contribution Gordon made to the fight against this horrendous disease.”
Lucy added: “Gordon and I have received many awards together over the years, so getting one named in memory of him is very surreal.”