Those behind the campaign have set their sights on a ‘record-breaking’ fundraising total after passing the £1m threshold.
With a month still to go in the campaign – the first major My Name’5 Doddie Foundation fundraising event following the death of founder Doddie Weir – the running total has already eclipsed the entire Doddie Aid 2022 total.
More than 35,000 fundraisers across the UK have already rallied to raise as much money as possible for motor neurone disease (MND) research in memory of Scotland rugby legend Weir, who died in November, six years after his MND diagnosis at the age of 52.
The virtual mass-participation exercise event Doddie Aid, founded in 2020 by former Scotland captain Rob Wainwright, started on January 1.
Doddie Aid 2023 organisers are now targeting a record-breaking fundraising total – and hope to attract more than 50,000 fundraisers to help them get there.
Jill Douglas, chief executive of the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation and Weir’s close friend, said: “We are absolutely blown away by the amazing efforts of thousands of fundraisers taking part in Doddie Aid 2023 – they are all truly remarkable.
“The hard work doesn’t stop here – and with four weeks still to go in Doddie Aid 2023, we want as many people as possible to sign up and help raise as much money as we can for vital MND research in memory of the great man. Every pound we raise is another step towards his goal of ending MND.”
Confirmation of the fundraising milestone came as Olympic gold medal winner Dame Katherine Grainger and former Scotland rugby captain Wainwright announced they would lead a star-studded line up of rowers for the flagship event of the six-week Doddie Aid 2023 campaign – the Doddie Aid Britannia Regatta.
Eight teams of celebrities will compete to see who can row the furthest in three hours in support of the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation at the event, to be held at the iconic Royal Yacht Britannia in Edinburgh on Saturday, January 28.
Six-time rowing world champion Dame Katherine, who won gold in the double sculls at the London 2012 Olympic Games, is among a host of famous faces from rugby, television, music and the wider sporting world who will be on deck to rack up as many miles as possible to fund MND research.
Other well-known names joining the event include former Scotland internationals Jim Hamilton, Chris Paterson and Roger Baird, as well as television stars Jason Fox, Louise Minchin, Jennifer Reoch, and Dougie Vipond.
Dame Katherine, who is also chair of UK Sport, said: “Doddie Aid is an amazing event that brings so many people together through a shared passion for exercise, teamwork, camaraderie and commitment to helping find a cure for MND.
“As the first event since Doddie’s death, this year’s event, of course, takes on added significance, and the tens of thousands of people already signed up and racking up miles shows how much people care.
“The Doddie Aid Britannia Regatta is the perfect focal point for Doddie Aid 2023, and will embody so much of what Doddie stood for – hard work and unbridled fun. I know Sir Chris Hoy has been pulling out all the stops to get the cyclists involved, so now it’s time for the rowers to make their mark for Doddie.
“It was an easy decision to get involved and support such an important cause spearheaded by the memory of a truly great man. There will be some tough moments for everybody, but there is no greater motivation than doing Doddie proud.”
Rob Wainwright, Doddie Aid Founder and Weir’s former teammate, added: “The Doddie Aid Britannia Regatta is particularly poignant as it’s the first Doddie Aid since Doddie’s passing in November, but this only drives us forward to continue making progress and raising awareness of MND.
“It will be incredible to see everyone rallying together at the event, as well as those joining from home, the gym or anywhere else. Doddie started something special, and it is our responsibility to continue his legacy.
“We are absolutely committed to our vision of a world free of MND, leaving no stone unturned in our relentless pursuit of this goal, and we’re grateful to everyone at The Royal Yacht Britannia for hosting the event and allowing our vision to come to life.
“There’s still time to join Doddie Aid 2023 and get the miles in for MND, whether it’s walking, cycling, running, rowing, dog walking or any other exercise of your choice. We will raise as much as we can until we can find a cure for MND.”
The Doddie Aid Britannia Regatta is the flagship event of the third annual Doddie Aid, the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation’s largest annual fundraising event.
A limited number of tickets will be available to purchase in advance, with proceeds from all event sales donated to the foundation.
Doddie Aid is the biggest annual fundraising event of the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, which Wainwright launched in 2017 to further research into the disease.
Former Scotland rugby players Andy Nicol and John Barclay are among those who have signed up to take part in 2023.