After many inconclusive tests results, Jim was finally diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND), and sadly passed away aged 60, on March 9th 2022, just a year after his first symptoms became apparent. MND is a rapidly progressing terminal illness, which stops signals from the brain reaching the muscles and this can cause someone to lose the ability to walk, talk, eat, drink, or breathe unaided.
In memory of Jim and to raise money for MND Scotland, on April 4th, sons Jamie (31) and Steven (36) along with friends, James McLennan (29) and Jordan Sidey (25), live streamed themselves playing the popular game, ‘Call of Duty: Warzone’, for 24-hours straight, without moving from their chairs.
Speaking on the inspiration behind the challenge, Jamie said: “Considering that my dad was completely chair bound for the last four months of his life, it just made sense. I know that playing a game for 24 hours doesn’t really compare to what my dad went through. I mean, he used to dream about being able to scratch his own face and being stuck in that chair all the time was obviously incredibly frustrating for him, but still, I think we all thought that this would be easier than it was.”
Less than a week after announcing the stream, Jamie and his fellow gamers had already surpassed their initial £1,000 goal and along with money raised at Jim’s funeral, have already managed to raise a life changing amount.
He said: “The support we have received so far has been amazing. My dad was a well-loved guy, and it has been fantastic to see everyone digging deep and donating for such a worthy cause. We honestly can’t thank everyone who has donated enough.”
It first became apparent that something was wrong when Jim, who worked as a Concierge with Maryhill housing, attempted to step out of his work van, an action he would do many times every day, but on this occasion, when Jim opened the door and tried to step down, he fell from his seat and landed face down on the ground. Embarrassed he may have been caught on camera by his co-workers, Jim instantly jumped up but from then on, he began walking with a slightly dropped foot which would only get progressively worse.
Remembering his dad’s resilience, he said: “I know my dad was devastated and struggled with the reality of his situation. In fact, he visited the doctor shortly after his fall and it was like from that moment on, nothing went right for him.
“But even while dealing with chronic pain, losing the use of his legs and constant problems with his catheter, he never lost his sense of humor and remained incredibly witty right until the end.
“My daughter’s birthday is on the 8th of March and my dad passed away on the 9th, I know he held on for her. He wasn’t going anywhere before her birthday. He loved his family and we all miss him so much.”
Jim was a keen athlete and self-taught musician and even when he could no longer take part in the physical activities he had once enjoyed, he found great pleasure in playing his guitar and listening to music.
Reflecting on the support that Jim received from MND Scotland, he said: “I can’t say enough good things about MND Scotland and everything they did for my dad.
“Honestly, it seemed like anything practical my dad needed was sorted out as soon as we asked for it and they also provided a huge amount of emotional support for my mum and dad, who have obviously both found the past 12 months incredibly difficult.”
MND Scotland CEO Rachel Maitland thanked the group for taking on their 24 hour challenge and said: “It is always heartbreaking to hear of another life being cut short by MND, but I am glad that our team was able to support Jim and his family during this immensely difficult time. I would like to thank and congratulate Jamie, Steven, James, and Jordan for their effort and for raising a fantastic amount of money that will help us to provide direct support to people who unfortunately find themselves in the same situation as Jim in the future, as well as helping us to fund vital and life changing research.”
Rachel Maitland | MND Scotland