MND campaigner Gordon Aikman gets honorary degree

A MOTOR neurone disease (MND) campaigner who has raised almost £300,000 for research funding is to receive an honorary degree.
Gordon Aikman. Picture: Ian GeorgesonGordon Aikman. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Gordon Aikman. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Gordon Aikman, who successfully lobbied the First Minister to publicly fund and double the number of specialist MND nurses across Scotland, will be given the honour from the University of Edinburgh.

The 30-year-old was diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disease last year.

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He is being recognised for his contribution to improving research and care for patients, and will receive an honorary doctorate at a graduation ceremony on July 4.

The university is home to the Euan MacDonald Centre - a world-leading hub for MND research.

Professor Siddharthan Chandran, director of the centre, said: “This award is a terrific recognition of Gordon’s tireless efforts to both increase public awareness of MND as well as improve the quality of care and support for people living with this very tough condition.

“In addition to his personal fund-raising of over £250,000 for research, Gordon has also persuaded the Scottish Government to fund MND nurse specialists in Scotland and to double their number.

“To have achieved all this in under a year since his diagnosis is truly remarkable.”

Speaking ahead of the event, Mr Aikman, a graduate of the university, said: “I am absolutely delighted to receive this honour from the University of Edinburgh - an institution which is at the cutting edge of MND research.

“This isn’t what I expected to be doing a few years out of uni. But none of us know what is around the corner, so we must all make the most of the time we have got.

“With every day that I have left I will be fighting to bring closer the day we live in a world free from MND.

“It’ll be too late for me, but we can and we must find a cure for future generations.”