The Castle Douglas family will be joining hundreds of other families on Global MND Awareness Day (21st June), which also happens to be Father’s Day, for MND Scotland’s Fun Run Relay event.
In place of our annual Fun Run, we have decided to transform the event into a national relay race across Scotland, from John O’Groats to Gretna, with fundraisers pledging to take on as many of the 581k (361 miles) as possible.
John, whose MND has affected his ability to walk, has pledged to join Liam (15), Aillie (12) and Blaine (9), for 1 kilometre of their 10km target.
Liam, John’s eldest son, said “Our Dad John was diagnosed with MND in 2015. At this point life wasn’t that different for us but over the last five years things have changed so much for us all. The little things you take for granted, like kicking a ball with your dad, to the big things like going away on holiday, we can’t do these things now.
“This is the first time we’ve felt able to raise money for MND. We have grown up dealing with our dad getting more poorly and it’s something we wanted to do that was fun and that we can all do together. I’m really proud to be raising money for a cause that we live with every single day.
“We set the target of 10km and it’ll be a mixture of walking and running as our little brother will be doing it with us. Our dad is also going to try his best to walk – or shuffle as he calls it - the first 1km with us using his walking aid (and social distancing of course).”
With a target of £50, Team McGaw have been overwhelmed by the response they have received so far, already raising over £750 for MND Scotland.
Aillie (12) said, “We set our target at £50 and thought if we got that it would be really good. We couldn’t believe when mum was telling us how much people had donated. It’s so amazing and especially when people are dealing with covid too. I wanted to take part in MND Scotland’s Fun Run Relay to turn something negative into a positive and raise money while getting outside and keeping fit.”
Blaine (9) said, “MND makes speech and walking very difficult for my dad. I want to raise money for a disease that our dad has and we want this to help find a cure. I also hope that it helps with making people feel better every day. I’m ready for this!”
Even though they live just around the corner, due to the lockdown restrictions, Liam, Aillie and Blaine haven’t been able to see John as much as they would like.
Aillie said, “We haven’t been able to see Dad much since lockdown, I think we’ve seen him maybe four times. He lives close so he can come to the back garden fence or we can wave through his window. We have a group chat where we can text or FaceTime but it’s easier for dad just to text. I miss coming home from school and shouting ‘Hey Father’ in the door, and can’t wait to be able to do it again.”
Blaine added a message to his dad, “I can’t wait till this is all over and I can come to your house and watch a movie on the couch with you again.”
While Liam joked, “I can’t wait to be sitting in teenage silence watching the football with you!”
Taking on the challenge with his three children, John said “I am so proud of my kids, in not only doing this, but how they cope day to day with my MND. I think this is what they need. Everything is about awareness and kids - doing it raises awareness that they are affected by MND too, not just me.
“I’m self-isolating so it’s been tough not seeing the kids every day. Very tough. I get emotional just thinking about it. All I want is to reach out and hug them, but I can’t. This Fun Run Relay will be something special for us to do together.
“Anyone who knows me should know how stubborn… sorry I mean independent I am! So, when the kids said they were running I asked to be part of it. Yes 1km may not be much to others but I reckon it will take anything between three to six hours for me. I will complete it even if it takes longer!”
Iain McWhirter, MND Scotland’s head of fundraising, said “I’d like to thank the McGaw family for coming together to raise funds this Global MND Awareness Day. It will be an extra special Father’s Day for many, with supporters across the country taking part with their dads, or in memory of those we have lost.
“We’ve been blown-away by the response to our virtual Fun Run event. We set our supporters the target of covering the length of Scotland; instead, they’ve already pledged to cover the length of Britain! Every distance – no matter how short or long - is helping take us a step closer to a cure for MND.
“Just because we’re apart right now, doesn’t mean we can’t come together in spirit and joining our Fun Run Relay is super easy. Just sign up for free here."