She decided to take the plunge on Hogmanay in memory of her loving husband, John Dobbie, on what would have been his 64th birthday, after losing him to Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in January 2017.
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.
Gillian decided to follow through on her pledge as a part of MND Scotland’s ‘Making A Difference’ campaign, which is encouraging supporters across the country to make a pledge for 2018 to push themselves out of their comfort zone to help raise awareness and funds for the charity. She becomes the first supporter of the charity to complete her pledge for 2018.
Gillian, who originally hails from Edinburgh, works as an Office Administrator at Borders General Hospital. She decided to move to Hawick in 1986 and met John the same year at the Horse and Hound Country Inn in Bonchester Bridge. She is the mother of chef James (29) and receptionist Jenni (26).
James lives in Auckland, New Zealand, with wife Ana and their 3 month old son John – named after his grandfather. Jenni lives in Edinburgh with her partner Paul and their 18 month old daughter Orla.
John was born on the final day of 1953, meaning this Hogmanay would have been John’s 64th Birthday. To celebrate the date, Gillian set-out to raise £1,953 in aid of MND Scotland.
“I shaved my hair off on Old Year’s Night, which would have been John’s 64th birthday. He was born on the 19th December 1953, so I aimed to raise £1,953 for MND Scotland. I will also be donating my ponytail to the Little Princess trust.”
So far, Gillian has managed to exceed her target and raise over £2,500 for MND Scotland.
Gillian had her ponytail, and the rest of her hair, shaved off by friend Arlene Mitchell at the Stag’s Head pub in Hawick. She was surrounded by a strong cohort of friends and family cheering her on.
Diagnosed in January 2007, John lived with the terminal condition for over 10 years, before passing away in January 2017.
“The biggest challenge was dealing with the physical deterioration, which caused John to lose his independence. He coped amazingly well considering the frustration he must have felt.
“The emotional impact of our son emigrating to New Zealand was also a challenge, but as John and I always said to him; ‘you have to do what’s right for you, life’s too short for regrets.’”
“John and I have both benefited from grants from MND Scotland, so I just wanted the chance to give something back.
“We held a dominoes fundraiser at the Stag’s Head in April 2016 which was a tremendous success and John even ventured out of the house for the first time in months to attend.”
Iain McWhirter, MND Scotland’s Head of Fundraising and Volunteering, said: “I want to thank Gillian for her bravery in following through on her pledge for 2018 by doing something so drastic to help raise awareness and funds to support people affected by MND.
“New Year is a time that we all reflect on the past and make a resolution for the coming year, but for Gillian we know that this time of year is especially important as she thinks of John.
“We couldn’t be more delighted and proud of Gillian for becoming the first person in Scotland to complete her ‘Making A Difference’ pledge for 2018 and we look forward to championing our other supporters so we can keep the momentum going into this new year.”
If you would like to show your support for Gillian, you can sponsor her at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Gillian-Dobbie2 with all proceeds going directly to MND Scotland.
Find out how you can help us by Making a Difference in 2018.
Find out how we can support you if you are affected by MND
Help us support people affected by MND and fund vital research
Become a volunteer, join a campaign or share your experience
We are funding research that is taking us a step closer to a cure