Dreaming of a Blue Christmas

Michael Laycock, an MND patient from Forres, is taking on a unique challenge for MND Scotland this Christmas.

Posted : 11/12/2017

Michael Laycock (75), who lives with Motor Neurone Disease, has decided to be an alternative Santa this Christmas to raise funds for MND Scotland.

The former textile business owner from Forres, who was diagnosed with the progressive illness in 2008, began growing his Santa Claus-like beard and hair to entertain his grandchildren, who will be visiting this Christmas from the USA.

Michael’s wife, Vivian, suggested he dye his grey beard to appear more like Santa and was surprised when he opted for blue dye instead of white.

Vivian said: “I told him that he was at risk of scaring the grandchildren because the colour of Santa’s beard is nothing like his.

“He must have been thinking about doing something for MND Scotland because the next time I went to see him he said he wanted to go blue. He’s got a great sense of humour, he’s still as quick as ever.”

Michael added; “I have grown and dyed my beard and hair cornflower blue, the official colour for MND Scotland. The aim is to keep the blue until Christmas Day, when both hair and beard will be ceremoniously shaved off.”

Since his diagnosis Michael has progressed from using walking sticks to an electric wheelchair and has lost the ability to speak and to feed and dress himself. Michael was fitted with a feeding tube in 2012 and he uses an iPad to communicate.

“I've had MND for over 9 years and it is a slow slide (in my case) into the abyss. Nil by mouth, I can't speak, I’m doubly incontinent and wheelchair bound.”

Michael now lives in Cathay Nursing Home in Forres and has volunteered to be the resident Santa Claus, with a twist, this year.

“The staff and other residents think it’s a great idea and are behind me 100%. They’ve even given me my pirate name ‘Bluebeard’.

“I want to raise as much as possible for research into MND and hopefully a cure. I originally set my target to £555 which I exceeded on the first day so I have increased it to £1,200; it would be amazing to reach this by Christmas. The family and I, along with all the other families out there dealing with this devastating disease, will be most grateful for any spare change you can donate.”

Iain McWhirter, MND Scotland’s head of fundraising and volunteering, said: “What a fantastic and unique fundraiser Michael is undertaking.

“Without supporters such as the Laycocks we would not be able to continue supporting people, like Michael and Vivian, across the country and funding research towards a cure.

“Team MND Scotland are wishing Michael the best of luck with the shaving ceremony and his stint as Santa Claus.”

MND Scotland has recently launched its Making A Difference campaign, where MND Scotland supporters are being encouraged to make a pledge to do something to raise awareness and funds for the charity in 2018.

Fundraisers have started filling out their 'pledge panels' and sharing photographs of themselves with their pledges on social media.

You can donate online to Michael’s page at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Michael-Laycock1

What is MND?

Motor Neurone Disease is a rapidly progressing terminal illness, which stops signals from the brain reaching the muscles.

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