Thanks to an innovative sponsorship deal with Dell Technologies, MND Scotland’s logo is taking pride of place on the front of the Hearts home kit for the 2021/22 season. To help raise more awareness, Stevie, from Mid Calder, is sharing his experience of living with MND and what the partnership means to him and his family.
Before being diagnosed with MND, the Tynecastle Park season ticket holder used to love playing sport, including football, walking football and golf multiple times a week.
He said: “I used to live a very active life before my diagnosis, and it has been really tough having my ability to play sport gradually fade away to the point where I just can’t do it anymore.
“I’m someone who likes to take care of their garden, but this past gardening season I was even starting to find mowing the lawn to be too much.”
Stevie, who is married to Mary (61) and dad to Craig (37), used to attend every Hearts game, both home and away, but due to his worsening condition, is sadly unable to travel to watch away games anymore.
“Hearts has always been a huge part of my life. It’s really important to me and I used to love travelling to the games on the Livingston Hearts supporter’s bus, but I can’t do that now. The walk to the ground from the bus is just too far. Even going to home games, I have to get dropped off right at the entrance and am in the process of moving my season ticket seat, so I don’t have to walk as far.
“Right now, I am still able to get down to the pub on a Sunday to watch other TV games, something I’m still really glad I can do.”
Steven first suspected something was wrong during a round of golf, when he experienced a freezing cold sensation in his foot, something which seemed even more unusual given the warm weather on the day.
He said: “From visiting my doctor to being diagnosed took around nine months in total. There was a lot of testing involved and other things that had to be ruled out. At first, I thought it might have been a trapped nerve but sadly it was more serious than that.”
Stevie was diagnosed with MND in February 2021 and less than a year on is having difficulty getting up and down stairs, as well as relying on a breathing machine at night.
“Being diagnosed with MND was devastating obviously. It just floored us and the whole family went through a period of complete disbelief. Although I found it very difficult to tell my family and friends, the hardest part was definitely having to tell my dad.
“For the past three games, I’ve taken my dad for hospitality at Hearts, which has been an amazing experience for us both and something very special we could do together.”
Stevie and his son Craig are extremely happy about the partnership between Hearts and MND Scotland and have both got the strip with the charity logo.
He continued: “MND is a horrible disease. For my team to be involved in such a positive and direct way is tremendous. I hope the money raised from the partnership will allow MND Scotland to continue helping people in my situation. The support and services they provided me with really helped to take a load off my family – they are magnificent.
“I hope the message gets through that MND can affect anyone. I'm a fan, who is there every week. I'm your midweek, go to Inverness or Ross County fan. I'm a fan that will have a sing a long on the supporter’s bus, and a beer before and after the match. Hearts are my team. My wish is that no one else misses out on future games because of MND.”
To help people like Stevie, and to join our search for a cure, please donate today.
Iain McWhirter | Head of Fundraising