Family and friends of the late motor neurone disease (MND) patient and activist Gordon Aikman hope that a cure for the condition might be a step closer after a fundraising campaign he started smashed its target.
The target of £600,000 was reached just eight weeks after his death in February and now fundraisers have vowed to raise £1 million in memory of the campaigner, who died from the muscle wasting condition at the age of 31.
The Gordon’s Fightback campaign launched its #GordonsGift appeal to coincide with Mr Aikman’s 32nd birthday.
His husband, Joe Pike, said: “I miss Gordon’s voice, his eyes and his smile.
“I miss the in-jokes and affection and finishing each other’s sentences.
“But Gordon never wanted pity, and I don’t either. I want to turn a negative into a positive. Today, I want everyone to mark Gordon’s birthday by giving the gift of a cure for motor neurone disease.
“Gordon’s real passion was finding a cure. Doctors do not know what causes motor neurone disease, let alone how to cure it. But scientists in labs doing research provided him with hope. Not that he would be saved, but hope for future generations. A cure for MND – that would be a real gift to remember Gordon by.”
Mr Aikman was just 29 and working as director of research for the Better Together side during the 2014 Scottish independence referendum campaign when he was diagnosed.
He formed the Gordon’s Fightback campaign following the diagnosis, successfully lobbying the first minister to double the number of MND nurses and fund them through the NHS.
Close friend Lawrence Cowan said: “He would have been delighted to smash £600,000. But he would want us to cure this terrible disease once and for all.
“That takes money. So the Gordon’s Fightback campaign will do everything to fund the cutting edge research we need to stop deaths from MND.
“For Gordon, and everyone else battling this disease, we will make it our personal mission to raise £1m.”
Donations can be made through the website GordonsFightback.com