The legacy continues.

When Doddie Weir was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease, the landscape of that condition, the treatments, the science and the pursuit of cure changed forever. The MND community has grown and has displayed the most positive traits of human nature. None of us chose to it, we all wish it wasn’t a thing. But here we are. I’ve seen relentless kindness, selflessness, generosity, empathy, desire, love, but most all, hope.

For so long, there was no progress, no spokesperson, no drive or disruption to make any impact. Doddie made some BIG decisions and was backed by family, friends, the farming community, and the rugby family. He saw it was bigger than even him. He wanted to make life better for others. It was a philosophy he had always held; he just had a new arena in which to apply it.

Everyone has a Doddie story. If you met him, you remember it. If you saw him play, heard him speak or saw him in a tartan suit on TV, you remember it. I’m lucky, I had many moments and feel grateful for each one. But I also witnessed so many moments that belong to others. I took hundreds of photos of Doddie with folk and saw him sign autographs and EVERY SINGLE TIME, he gave a little bit of himself to each and every person he spoke to. He asked questions, he made jokes and made them feel special. He made the world better with his humour and kindness. He had always been very supportive of charities and responded to requests of help. Without knowing it, he was a great teacher. People remember their great teachers.

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When Doddie died, I was worried the momentum would fizzle and the quest for treatments and a cure would stall. The MND community have shown that they will not allow that to happen. Kevin Sinfield has been relentless and kept MND in the public consciousness. Rob Wainwright (who scares me whenever I see his name in my phone display) spends too much time on Coll concocting hairbrained schemes and challenges. And there are many, many others. DoddieAid version 4 has just come to a close and it shows that there is still a desire from the masses to support.

The Foundation believe everything should be done with LOVE, FUN and HOPE. That sums up Doddie and DoddieAid. The fun is a given. Anything with Rob Wainwright as the Captain and Chief, is full of fun. There is a lot of love. Love for Doddie, his family, those with MND, your District…

But it is the hope that provides the fuel. The Foundation has brought hope with the funds given to research, the support it has given to the other organisations supporting those living with MND, the awareness raised through the media and the energy it has shown in lobbying parliament, the medical profession and pharmaceutical companies to put resources towards making advancements towards improved treatments and finding a cure.

I was naïve at the start, like many others. I thought a cure was close. In reality, we’re all working towards something that will benefit people we haven’t met. It’ll help people that at the moment, don’t know they need it. It will benefit people that have no idea about Doddie Weir, DoddieAid or rugby. We don’t know when, but we hope it’ll happen.

I find it an incredible movement to be a part of. I’ve met inspirational people and believe the legacy of Doddie lives on in all of us. The attitude of Nicola McFarlane has been compared to Doddie. Her outlook is very like the Big Man and her desire to remain positive, tell her story and support the cause gives me hope. She’s a great human.

Giving hope is an important gift. Doddie started it. But his legacy lives on. If you took part in DoddieAid or have donated or supported, the legacy lives on in you. And that is where hope lives. Thank you, but we’re not done. Please keep going.