SCOTLAND RUGBY GREAT Doddie Weir has revealed he has been diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND).
The 46-year-old former lock, who earned 61 international caps and toured with the British and Irish Lions in 1997, announced his diagnosis to raise awareness of the debilitating condition, with 21 June the Global MND Awareness Day.
In a statement on the website of the Euan MacDonald Centre for MND research, Weir wrote:
“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 [his wife] 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.”
MND describes a group of diseases that affect the nerves (motor neurones) in the brain and spinal cord that tell your muscles what to do.
With MND, messages from these nerves gradually stop reaching the muscles, leading them to weaken, stiffen and waste.
Former South Africa scrum-half Joost van der Westhuizen was diagnosed with the life-shortening disease in 2011 and died earlier this year at the age of 45.
Professor Siddharthan Chandran, director of the Euan MacDonald Centre, 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.”
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