The brave group of hikers, facetiously self-titled the ‘Magnificent Seven’, will be led by Kenny Currie (50) from Balloch. They will set-off on the 5-day challenge on Friday 20th April.
Kenny decided to organise the challenge in memory of his father, Jim Currie, who died from MND in 2009, after being diagnosed with the condition just 18 months earlier.
MND is a rapidly progressing terminal illness, which stops signals from the brain reaching the muscles. This may cause someone to lose the ability to walk, talk, eat, drink or breathe unaided.
Kenny said: “My Dad first started showing symptoms of MND as early as 2002. Initially he started falling over, and after several visits to the doctors, he was wrongly diagnosed with depression.
“When my Mum I and went to visit the doctor regarding my father, we were told that there was nothing wrong with him other than depression.
“On two occasions he was sadly committed to the mental health ward at the Vale of Leven Hospital.
“It was only in 2007, after one of many spells at the hospital, a consultant asked if he would be happy to meet a specialist. Later that week he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease.
“He sadly died just 18 months after that, despite telling us for years prior that he felt he was dying.
“To this day I still feel guilty having tried to convince my father that he was suffering from depression when, deep-down, the man knew he was dying.
“Coincidentally, my Dad’s cousin was also diagnosed with MND the same week as my father. Like myself, my Dad’s cousin was a train driver.”
Kenny is thankful that the profile of MND has improved and that more health and social care professionals are now able to recognise the condition.
“Thankfully there is far more recognition of this horrendous disease today than there was 10 years ago. This is why it’s so important for fundraisers to help raise awareness of MND wherever possible.”
Kenny was overjoyed in April 2017 when MND Scotland was named as the new charity partner of the ScotRail Alliance until 2020.
"The ScotRail Alliance started looking for a new charity partner in late 2016 and I helped get behind the staff campaign for MND Scotland. I was absolutely delighted to hear that MND Scotland won the staff vote.
“So far the partnership has helped raise awareness of MND on a much bigger scale and it’s great to see that so many ScotRail employees have gotten involved with marathons, skydives and firewalks to help raise cash to fight back against MND.”
Now Kenny is gearing-up to lead a group of ScotRail employees, on his own fundraising challenge, to help support the charity.
“I’m so pleased that a group of my friends and colleagues will be joining me on the West Highland Way for MND Scotland. We’ve jokingly called ourselves the ‘Magnificent Seven’ and we’ll start the challenge on Friday 20th April, finishing on Tuesday 24th.
“It’s going to be a tough challenge, but I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to raise awareness and funds to help fund research into a cure.”
Morag McGown, Corporate Partnerships Manager at MND Scotland, said:
“I couldn’t be more proud of Kenny, and the rest of the team, for taking on this amazing challenge for MND Scotland.
“In particular, I want to thank Kenny for sharing his father’s story to help shine a light on MND and what it can mean for those who receive this devastating diagnosis.
“We’ve been blown-away by the incredible response from staff members at the ScotRail Alliance since our partnership began last year and I’m so glad to hear that Kenny will be joined on the West Highland Way by a number of his colleagues.
“It’s because of inspirational fundraisers like them that we’re able to continue providing care and support services to people affected by MND in Scotland, as well as funding cutting-edge research into a cure.
“I’m wishing Kenny and the team all the best and I’ll be cheering them on every step of the way.”
Sophie Nightingale, Community Investment Manager at the ScotRail Alliance, said:
“We’re all rooting for Kenny and his colleagues. We hope his moving story will raise awareness of MND, and inspire more people to get involved in the journey to a cure.
“MND Scotland do amazing work supporting patients and families affected by the disease, as well as research into possible causes and cures.
“At the ScotRail Alliance we are extremely lucky in that we have no shortage of people who are willing to do extraordinary things in order to raise money for this very deserving cause.”
If you would like to support Kenny and the team, you can sponsor them at: https://scotrail-fundraising.everydayhero.com/uk/the-magnificent-seven
Morag McGown | MND Scotland