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Church Pastor opens up about life with MND

Colin is bravely sharing his story to help raise awareness of motor neuron disease.

Posted : 27/07/2022

Church pastor, Colin Murray (59), from Portsoy in Aberdeenshire, is bravely sharing his story to help raise awareness of motor neuron disease (MND) and to help raise funds for charity, MND Scotland.   

MND is a rapidly progressing terminal illness, which stops signals from the brain reaching the muscles. This can cause someone to lose the ability to walk, talk, eat, drink or breathe unaided and the average life expectancy is just 18 months from diagnosis.     

Colin, who married his wife Bridget earlier this year, was the owner of a painting and decorating business for over 35 years, but unfortunately, soon after receiving his MND diagnosis in March 2022, he was unable to continue working.   

Remembering the first time he felt something was wrong, Colin said: “In March 2021 I noticed there was something wrong with either my left leg or foot. I had no pain, but it felt like I had a pulled muscle or maybe trapped a nerve. I was starting to trip quite regularly but I still wasn’t overly concerned. Then soon after I noticed that I was losing the power in the tips of my fingers. I began to drop things like my paint brush at work, but I didn’t think the problem with my left leg and my fingers were connected.  

Following an initial assessment, Colin was referred to a physiotherapist who gave him a series of exercises to complete, but with no sign of improvement, he was eventually sent for an MRI scan. Sadly, after undergoing multiple tests, Colin was diagnosed with MND in March 2022.  

Speaking on his diagnosis he said: ‘After the initial shock my family and friends could not have been more supportive. I don’t underestimate the impact MND can have on my wife, friends and family members. My walking is now restricted, and I walk with the aid of a staff. I am limited with the use of my hands and have recently been forced to stop driving. MND is unremitting and exhausting, due to the progressive nature of the disease and the chronic lack of treatment or cure so far.’  

Although he had to retire from painting and decorating, Colin is thankfully still able to serve as a pastor at his local Community Church, something which he has been able to continue thanks to the help and support of the Church community.     

He said: ‘Being forced to retire from my decorating business has left me sad in some respects, even a bit frustrated but I am not angry or bitter, I have enjoyed good health until fairly recently and I thank God for that.  

I am not kidding myself that this won’t be anything but a tough and at times harrowing journey ahead, but l will do everything l possibly can to ensure that l live my life to the max despite the grim medical prognosis for MND.’  

Speaking on how his faith has helped him to cope with his diagnosis, Colin said: As a person of faith I believe in a Sovereign God that can heal instantly or at least prolong my life expectancy through the advances in medical science. But at the same time, I have to deal with the reality of my diagnosis and how it can affect my physical well-being on a weekly basis. It can be difficult to balance walking in faith with walking in reality but I firmly believe when we merge cutting edge medical science with a positive attitude and faith in the divine, absolutely anything is possible.”  

Turning to MND Scotland for support, Colin continued: ‘I have received excellent support from MND Scotland. Penny, the charity’s welfare and benefits advisor has been so helpful in taking care of the financial side of things for me and letting me know of the initiatives on offer with MND Scotland. I also attend a very encouraging weekly Zoom meeting with other MND sufferers.’  

Following the support he received from the charity, Colin has arranged a coffee morning to raise funds for MND Scotland at the Portsoy Church centre. The first of numerous fundraising initiatives currently planned by Colin and his local community.    

Rachel Maitland, MND Scotland CEO, said: ‘I am very happy to hear that MND Scotland has been able to support Colin during this tremendously difficult time and I want to thank Colin for sharing his experience with us and speaking out about his story. It is because of the courage of people like Colin that we can continue to raise awareness around motor neuron disease, something which plays a significant role in determining our ability to secure funding for vital research.'  

To find out more about Colin’s coffee morning or to donate to his fundraiser, click here.  

 

 

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“I am very happy to hear that MND Scotland has been able to support Colin during this tremendously difficult time and I want to thank Colin for sharing his experience with us and speaking out about his story. It is because of the courage of people like Colin that we can continue to raise awareness around motor neurone disease, something which plays a significant role in determining our ability to secure funding for vital research.”

Rachel Maitland | MND Scotland

Rachel Maitland | MND Scotland