Edinburgh Local

Raising funds for MND research

World-leading research into motor neurone disease is helped by £4,000 student rugby fundraiser.

Presentation of cheque for MND
Jamie Gillan (Treasurer), Finlay Calder, James Carson (Captain), and Nick Stephen (Secretary)

Inspired by rugby legend and former British Lion Doddie Weir, who announced last year that he had motor neurone disease (MND), members of the Edinburgh University Sports Union Men’s Rugby Football Club rallied round to raise funds for research.

Working together with their network of alumni, committee and players, the Club organised an Alumni Dinner on the eve of the Calcutta Cup 2018.  A hugely successful auction was held, offering sporting tickets and memorabilia, including the bespoke 160th Anniversary Edinburgh University Men’s Rugby Shirt featuring the University tartan, and a Man O Man event, which saw players auctioned to the room as waiters for the evening. 

As a result, a fantastic total of £4,000 was raised and presented to Finlay Calder, a Trustee of Doddie’s charitable foundation and one of the few living British and Irish Lions winning captains.

I am extremely proud of our club, our committee, our alumni and our supporters.  We were honoured to watch Doddie and his sons deliver the Match Ball at Murrayfield ahead of Scotland’s Autumn Test against New Zealand so we decided to spend our year raising money to help such an important cause.

James CarsonEUSU Men’s Rugby Football Club captain

Backing MND Research

When Club members decided to raise funds for Doddie and his Foundation, they were conscious that groundbreaking research into the disease is being carried out right here at the University of Edinburgh.

Indeed, when the former British and Irish Lion – who earned 61 caps for Scotland throughout his rugby career – publicly announced his diagnosis, he also pledged support for the Euan MacDonald Centre, a Scotland-wide research initiative based at this University. The Centre was set up in 2007 by Donald MacDonald, a leading Scottish businessman, and his son Euan, who was diagnosed with MND in 2003. The Centre supports and undertakes cutting-edge research into MND as well as training the next generation of research leaders.

We are immensely grateful to Doddie for his support.  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.

Professor Siddharthan ChandranDirector of the Euan MacDonald Centre for Motor Neurone Disease Research at the University of Edinburgh

What is MND?

MND – also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s Disease – is a progressive disease which occurs when specialised nerve cells called motor neurons break down. These cells usually transmit messages from the brain and spinal cord to tell muscles in the body what to do.

In MND, messages from the nerves gradually stop reaching the muscles, which causes them to weaken and waste away. Eventually, this leads to paralysis and difficulties with speech, swallowing and breathing. There are currently no therapies that can stop progression of MND and little is known about why the disease strikes some but not others.

Community fundraising

Edinburgh City 7’s will also be supporting the Euan MacDonald Centre for MND Research at the University and My Name’5 Doddie Foundation at their sports day on Saturday 2 June.

Taking place at Inverleith Park, it’s sure to be a great day out. As well as men’s and women’s Rugby 7s and fancy-dress dodgeball, there will be live music, a street food village, DJs, and drinks garden with craft beer, gin and prosecco. Researchers from the Euan MacDonald Centre will be on hand to discuss current research so do say hello and get some Euan MacDonald Centre branded goodies while you are there.

For more information, or to book your ticket, visit www.edinburghcity7s.com or contact Kerry Mackay, Community Fundraising Officer, University of Edinburgh.U

Mrs Kerry Mackay

Senior Community Fundraising Officer

  • Development and Alumni
  • Supporter Engagement

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Charles Stewart House
9-16 Chambers Street

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  • 9.30am - 5.00pm, Monday to Friday

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