This year has been monumental in our fightback against MND – we saw the launch of the UK’s biggest MND drugs trial, thanks to the many fundraisers, researchers and leaders in our community.
Lawrence is in the running for the ‘Charity Champion’ award because of everything he has done both personally and professionally in the fightback against MND.
Lawrence’s best friend Gordon Aikman died of MND when he was just 31 years old. Gordon spent the time he had left campaigning for the rights of people affected by MND and fundraising to find a cure. Before Gordon died, Lawrence made a promise to do everything he could to help bring drugs trials to Scotland. This year that promise became a reality.
Personally, Lawrence has helped raise over £700,000 for cutting-edge research, and during his leadership as MND Scotland’s chairman, the charity achieved its highest income to date and invested £1.5 million into the pioneering drugs trial MND-SMART - the largest investment into research the charity has ever made.
Through this nomination, Lawrence is now being recognised for his contributions to the cause and is following in the footsteps of his late friend, who won this award in 2016.
Lawrence said: "It’s fantastic to be nominated. This year we’ve made an historic leap forward in our fightback against MND. A few years ago drug trials for people with MND in Scotland were just a dream. Now almost everyone will be able to get on a drug trial in Scotland.
“We’re now at the cutting edge of treatment trials in the UK. We got here through people moving mountains for those they love - and those they’ve lost. This nomination is for everyone in our MND community who have made history and I hope I can do them proud on the night."
We’d also like to congratulate our friends at the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation and Euan’s Guide, who have also been shortlisted for awards.
The My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, which has been nominated for Charity of the Year, was founded by rugby legend Doddie Weir OBE. Since his diagnosis in 2016 he has spent his time raising awareness of the disease by sharing his story and raising funds to find a cure. The foundation has also donated £280,000 to MND Scotland’s grants programme, to help families in Scotland who are struggling financially because of MND.
Euan MacDonald, also shortlisted in the Charity Champion category, was diagnosed with MND in 2003 and driven to help find a cure, he established the Euan MacDonald Centre for MND Research. The centre, at the University of Edinburgh, is home to the clinical drugs trial MND Scotland helped fund. As a powerchair user, Euan also founded the charity Euan’s Guide, a disabled access review website which gives disabled people the information they need to visit places with confidence.
In addition to their category nominations Lawrence, Euan and the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation are also in with a chance of winning the People’s Choice Award which is decided by a public vote. So give MND your vote by Friday 4th September at 5pm.
We’re wishing everyone the best of luck on the night! The results will be announced on Friday 25th September.
Lawrence Cowan - MND Scotland