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Fighting back for 40 years

MND Scotland turns 40 today (23rd June) and to mark the occassion is looking back on key milestones achieved.

Posted : 23/06/2021

This week is Global MND Awareness Day (21st June) and our 40th Anniversary (23rd June), so we are taking a look back at the progress we have all made together over the years.

Forty years ago, police officer John Macleod set up the Scottish MND Association from his living room, two years after he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

At the time there was no care, support or treatment available in Scotland. Supported by his loving wife Peggy, their family, friends and John’s police colleagues, a new charity was born which aimed to provide support for others going through this frightening disease.

Today, the charity that John and Peggy began supports hundreds of people living with MND. Awareness of MND has never been higher and today MND Scotland invests millions of pounds in cutting-edge MND research.

Our journey so far... 

  • 1981 – Scottish Motor Neurone Disease Association was founded
  • 1982 – First service was developed and our first investment into MND research
  • 1984 – First nurse was recruited to care for people with MND 
  • 1989 – Moved into our first proper Head Quarters 
  • 1994 – Increased the number of MND nurses in Scotland
  • 2002 – First drug treatment for MND, Riluzole, becomes available through the NHS
  • 2009 – Became MND Scotland and adopted current logo
  • 2014 - Ice Bucket Challenge phenomenon
  • 2015 – Gordon Aikman, MND campaigner, launched Gordon’s Fightback, where he successfully campaigned to double the number of MND nurses and have them funded from the public purse 
  • 2016 – The right to communication aids, free of charge from the NHS, becomes law
  • 2018 – First MND drug trial in 20 years
  • 2018 – Fairer fast-tracking rules for Scottish social security benefits become law 
  • 2020 – Launch of the UK's biggest MND drug trial in a generation 

But the fight isn’t over. You can help us continue the fight by supporting our 40th Anniversary appeal

Iain McWhirter, MND Scotland’s Interim Chief Executive, said:

“This week we are celebrating MND Scotland’s 40th anniversary (23rd June) and the incredible things achieved in that time. 40 years ago there was no care, support or treatment for people with MND in Scotland.

“Today, our team delivers essential support services to hundreds of families across the country. Together, we have created real change at a political level, ensuring people with MND have the right to communication aids, and are fast-tracked for certain benefits. Last year, we invested £1.5 million into launching the biggest MND clinical drug trial in a generation. This means now almost every person in Scotland with MND can take part in a drug trial to find treatments to slow, stop, or reverse the progression of, MND.

“We’ve come a long way in 40 years, and none of this would be possible without supporters like you, so thank you from the bottom of our hearts. But we’re not done fighting yet. We need you to help us continue the fight, so together we can beat MND.”

Peggy Macleod MBE, Co-founder of MND Scotland, said:

“Forty years ago, we launched the Scottish MND Association from our living room. When I look at the progress that’s been made in the last few years, it’s totally overwhelming.

“John would be absolutely amazed and proud of what’s been achieved. All he ever wanted was for other people going through MND to have support they need, and to move us towards finding a cure.

“For the first time in my life, I feel that there is hope. That’s why I’m asking you to donate whatever you are able to for the charity’s 40th birthday. With your support we can continue to build incredible things on the foundation John laid all those years ago and bring us closer to a cure for this awful, devastating condition."

quote marks

“For the first time in my life, I feel that there is hope. That’s why I’m asking you to donate whatever you are able to for the charity’s 40th birthday.”

Peggy Macleod MBE | Co-founder

Peggy Macleod MBE | Co-founder

Together we'll beat MND! Help us continue the fight for our 40th Anniversary and beyond.