At 1:15pm the MND Scotland team were in the Scottish Parliament to observe a debate in the chamber hosted by Christina McKelvie MSP. The debate saw parliamentarians across the chamber coming together to share their personal experiences of MND, with Christina leading the debate and talking about how she and her family coped with the devastating loss of her father.
We also heard from Kezia Dugdale MSP, who paid tribute to her close friend Gordon Aikman and called for the Scottish Government to lead the way in finding a cure for MND. Brian Whittle MSP also gave an emotional speech, paying tribute to his friend Doddie Weir who announced his MND diagnosis this week.
Christina McKelvie and MND Scotland also hosted an evening reception at 6pm in the Garden Lobby of the Scottish Parliament to which 150 guests attended.
During the reception we heard speeches from our Chair, Lawrence Cowan, the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon and Hannah Laycock - the daughter of an MND patient.
During her speech the First Minister pledged that the Scottish Government will introduce a fast-track system to end the unnecessary delays for people with terminal illnesses claiming social security benefits.
The First Minister said:
“When we take responsibility for delivering the benefits… we will put in place a fast-track system to end the delays that people too often experience right now. That will ensure that disability payments reach people with terminal illnesses as quickly as possible.
“We will also continue to work with MND Scotland to address the challenges that people are facing now under the current system, particularly around automatic entitlement and the duration of awards.”
Lawrence Cowan, Chairman of MND Scotland, said:
“MND Scotland welcomes the First Minister’s commitment to a better benefits system. It is the next stage in transforming care for people with MND.
“Up and down this country people find themselves up against a benefits bureaucracy that is stripping them of their dignity. Their hour of need replaced by hours of needs assessments.
“For MND, that means you can be told you are living too long to access your benefits quickly. And if you do beat the odds and live longer than expected, you might need to confirm you still need help. There’s no compassion in that and it doesn’t make sense.”
We were also joined by MSPs across the parliament who pledged their support to #CureMND
To follow the day’s events and find out what else we are doing for the rest of awareness week, check out our social media accounts @MNDScotland on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
You can view photographs from MND Awareness Week here.
Nicola Sturgeon | First Minister of Scotland