We’re delighted to posthumously award our 2021 John MacLeod Award to Alan Gray, an early participant in the MND-SMART trial, and Judith Newton, Scotland’s first Lead MND Nurse Consultant, have been recognised for their contributions to the MND community.
Alan Gray was a beloved member of the virtual peer support group and his local Forth Valley support group prior to the pandemic. He and his wife Beverley’s generosity was hugely appreciated by everyone in the group. As soon as a new member arrived, they would be invited to the Gray home for lunch or afternoon tea to look at the adaptations, receive handy practical tips about how to live life to the full with MND and be encouraged to keep a positive outlook. Alan's knowledge about the disease, research and practical solutions to its challenges was encyclopaedic and he devoted his time to ensuring that those coming behind him benefitted from his knowledge, wisdom and humour.
Alan helped raise awareness of MND by sharing his story publicly and even featured on BBC News to promote the launch of the pioneering MND-Smart clinical trial, being patient number one and also being the patient representative on the trial steering committee. Family and friends have dedicated themselves to fundraising for MND Scotland and to date, it is estimated they have raised over £20,000 to support MND Scotland. Alan took on our annual Fun Runs in his wheelchair and also featured in our 2020 Christmas Appeal which raised £40,000 for MND research. Fundraising has continued beyond Alan's death, with donations being requested at his funeral, and his son Ross will be taking part in our Himalayas Trek next year. You can help Ross reach his target, and continue raising funds in memory of Alan, by donating here.
Following on from three years working as Scotland’s first Lead MND Nurse Consultant, Judy accepted the additional role of Nurse and Clinic Manager of the Anne Rowling Clinic. The additional appointment sees Judy leading the delivery of clinical care and research to improve the lives of people with neurological conditions including MND, MS, Parkinson’s and dementias.
Judy’s first MND post was that of MND Clinical Nurse Specialist for the South East of Scotland in 1998. Judy completed a Master’s Degree in Cognitive Assessment in MND and, following the announcement to double the number of MND nurses in Scotland, was appointed to the newly created post of MND Nurse Consultant in 2016, funded by Scottish Government, MND Scotland and the University of Edinburgh.
Judy has been an integral partner for MND Scotland in ensuring the support we provide to patients will help make living with MND easier. She works tirelessly throughout her career to improve the quality of life of those living with MND in Scotland, and has championed the link between clinical and scientific research to bring us closer to finding effective treatments and a cure.
Rachel Maitland, MND Scotland's Chief Executive Officer said: "We are honoured to have known Alan and for everything that he contributed to the MND community as well as the remarkable contributions made by Judy. On behalf of everyone at MND Scotland, we cannot thank them enough for everything."
Rachel Maitland - MND Scotland