Doddie Weir's efforts to help find a cure for motor neurone disease are an inspiration – Scotsman comment

As a rugby player, Doddie Weir was an inspiration to fans of the game. Now his reaction to being diagnosed with motor neurone disease – raising millions to fund research to find a cure – is inspiring many, many more.

Doddie Weir stands in front of his portrait at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery (Picture: Neil Hanna)
Doddie Weir stands in front of his portrait at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery (Picture: Neil Hanna)

While taking part in the Doddie Aid fundraising challenge, Bruce MacGregor, of Blazin' Fiddles, was moved to write a tune, called Doddie’s Dream, which has now been recorded with folk musicians Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham, classical violinist Nicola Benedetti and a host of other stars. Proceeds from single, released on March 12, will go to the My Name'5 Doddie Foundation.

Doddie, who described the tune as “a beautiful piece of music”, said he was “so humbled to think these world class and brilliantly talented musicians have all been part of this”.

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In the year to October 31, 2019, his charity raised £3.2 million, granted more than £2 million in research grants and gave nearly £510,000 to help people with MND live “as fulfilled a life as possible”.

John Franklin, a ‘Doddie Fellow’ at the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience, who is investigating genetic causes of the disease with funding from the foundation, wrote there was “no greater unmet need in modern healthcare than the lack of effective treatments for patients with neurodegenerative diseases such as MND”.

Medical researchers given the resources they need to pursue a cure for a terrible disease and musicians inspired by a sporting legend’s courage in the face of the greatest adversity.

When such an array of talents from sport, arts and science are brought together, it feels like there’s a real chance that something truly wonderful can happen.

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