The former British and Irish Lion – who earned 61 caps for Scotland and is now an award-winning after-dinner speaker and MC – has announced his diagnosis to raise awareness of the condition for Global MND Awareness Day.
Doddie Weir said: ''Over the past few months a number of friends and family have raised concerns surrounding my health. I think then, that on this day set to help raise awareness of the condition, I should confirm that I too have Motor Neurone Disease. I should like to take this opportunity to thank the National Health Service in recognising then diagnosing this, as yet, incurable disease.
“I am currently on holiday in New Zealand with Kathy and the boys and when we return, I will devote my time towards assisting research and raising awareness and funds to help support fellow sufferers. There are plans in place to create a charitable foundation to help in any way we can and we will share these details with you after our family trip.”
Doddie is supporting researchers in their quest to better understand the disease, in the hope that it will eventually lead to new therapies.
Doddie Weir has pledged his support for research at the Euan MacDonald Centre, where MND Scotland also funds a number of research projects. The Centre supports and undertakes cutting-edge research into MND as well as training the next generation of research leaders.
Professor Siddharthan Chandran, Director of the Euan MacDonald Centre for Motor Neurone Disease Research, said: “We are immensely grateful to Doddie for his support at this difficult time for him and his family. Working in partnership with other researchers and charities such as MND Scotland, our goal is to bring forward the day when there are effective treatments for this very tough condition.”
Craig Stockton, CEO of MND Scotland, said “We are very sad to hear about the diagnosis of Doddie Weir. This is devastating news for anyone but especially for someone with a young family and for whom physical fitness has been such an important part of his life. It is very brave of him to come forward publicly to share his diagnosis and raise awareness of the illness. MND Scotland will be here to support him and his family and all those affected by MND in Scotland.”