Adrian (39), from Glasgow, who has been selected as the new Chair of the charity’s Board of Trustees, is marking the occasion by running 5km, or 25 minutes, every day during the month of December, with the aim of raising £5,000 for MND Scotland.
The CEO of Murphy Wealth, a multi award-winning financial planning business based in the centre of Glasgow, wants to give back to the charity through his new voluntary post and fundraising efforts, because his brother, Brian (48), was diagnosed with the disease in 2018.
Adrian and Brian are members of the close-knit Murphy clan – made up of seven siblings and two parents – who were left shocked and devastated by Brian’s diagnosis.
Adrian (pictured with his wife Sarah) said, “There’s almost 10 years between Brian and I, so I’ve always looked up to him as my big brother. He took me to my first concert, gave my first beer and did all sorts together.
“It was actually my mum who broke the news. She had sent me a text and asked if I had time to talk. My first thought was, ‘this can’t be good – what have I done now!’ Then she told me about Brian. Initially I was shocked - I really had to take a moment to process what she was telling me. It was absolutely devastating.
“Looking back, I remember well before he was diagnosed, I did think he was walking funny, but didn’t think much of it at the time. I always had an awareness of MND, with some high-profile footballers having had it, but you don’t really know how it affects someone. Then boom, you’re in it.
“I went into autopilot trying to get things organised, doing what I could to help. Everybody has rallied around Brian, and of course it’s been awful, but also lovely at the same time to see everyone coming together like that.
“As a family we started spending a lot more time together from then on. At the beginning it was hard to accept what was happening because there didn’t really look like anything was wrong. We were just having good times making memories and it was really nice. Over time though, Brian’s symptoms started to progress, and the reality began to sink in. He can still communicate without any issues, but he’s now in a wheelchair, so it’s harder to do the same things. And Covid has made this even more difficult.
“However, Brian has always maintained a positive attitude and we try to do the same. We’re making the most of our time as a family. We have had a good couple years already and we are hoping for many more.”
As Adrian steps into his new role as Chair of MND Scotland, his focus will be on helping the charity achieve its goals of transforming MND care and funding research to find a cure.
He said, “We’re very fortunate to be able to get Brian the equipment and care he needs, which can’t be provided by the NHS, local authority and MND Scotland. Not everyone will be in that position. MND Scotland and statutory services have been a fantastic support to Brian and our family, however there is always more that we can do. A real focus for me as Chair is to find out what the gaps in care and support are, and help drive forward improving life for everyone living with MND right now, while we continue that all important search for a cure.
“I plan to build on the fantastic work that has been done over the last few years. I want to devote my time and energy to working with the Board, key stakeholders and the rest of the team to progress our key objectives of care and a cure.”
Now, to mark his appointment, Adrian is taking on a daily mileage challenge which will see him running 5km or for 25 minutes, whichever comes first, every day throughout December, including Christmas Day! He’ll be relying on family, friends and colleagues to boost his fundraising efforts, to help him reach his target of raising £5,000 for MND Scotland.
He said, “The family have done bits and pieces for MND Scotland already, but this is the first big challenge I’ve personally decided to do. I have some ideas in progress for next year, but didn’t want to wait until then.
“Going for a run on Christmas Day will certainly be a change of pace for me, but we’ll be able to walk around and see Brian and his family on Christmas Day which will be very special, even if it’s just to have a glass of wine outside.
“I am probably the fitness I’ve been in years because of lockdown and having more time to do exercise, but it’ll still be a huge challenge and I have no idea what running 5km a day or thereabouts, will do to my body. No matter what I do, it’ll be nothing compared to what my brother is going through.
“Also from a personal perspective, I think this year has really shown me what’s important in life, and health is one of them, so it’s a good focus to stay fit during the cold, wet and dark winter days, while raising a whole lot money and awareness in the process.
“I’m aiming to raise £5,000 and have roped a few ‘willing’ victims into joining me already. Murphy Wealth has also announced MND Scotland as its official charity, so I’m hoping we’ll get staff and clients on board to support the cause too.
“If running isn’t your thing, any donation would be very much appreciated. I know times are hard for a lot of people right now, but even a small amount can go along in supporting people with MND, when they need us the most.”
To support Adrian’s month of running and to help him reach his target, you can donate online here.
Adrian Murphy - Chair of MND Scotland