Like many others, we were devastated when Doddie Weir announced that he had been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in June 2017. Even for those who don’t know him personally, Doddie is a larger-than-life character, an international rugby star, and just all round great guy. He’s known for many reasons, all of them good, and not least for his penchant for striking tartan get-ups.
While many of us would be inconsolable at such a diagnosis, 48-year-old Doddie has not let his disease win. Instead, he founded My Name’5 Doddie, a charity that raises money to aid research into the causes and potential cure for Motor Neurone Disease. They also provide grants to people suffering with the disease in order to adapt their homes, fund respite for their carers, and help them lead the most fulfilling lives they can.
Doddie is certainly doing that himself. Individuals diagnosed with MND are usually given two to three years to live and no cure is yet available, but in the past year, Doddie has barely slowed down in his fight to make life better for his fellow sufferers.
It is perhaps unsurprising that Doddie’s foundation has received such incredible support. The 6 foot 6 inch gentle giant started his career with Stewart’s Melville FP RFC, before moving to Melrose RFC, and then to the North East itself to join the Newcastle Falcons in 1995. Being the extraordinary player that he is, Doddie also played for the British Lions and made 61 international appearances for Scotland.
His prowess on the rugby pitch has clearly translated well to charity fundraising. Earlier this year, the foundation raised and donated £400,000 for the neurology and neurogenetics team at King’s College London, where they’re investigating gene therapy for sporadic MND. The rugby hero is also set to be the 12th person to receive the Edinburgh Award for outstanding contribution to charity, sport, and Edinburgh.
Without a doubt My Name’5 Doddie is one of the most active charities out there, with a myriad of events every month in support of the foundation, from clay pigeon shooting to coffee mornings. As well as raising much-needed funds to invest in further research for MND cures, the charity also raises awareness about the disease, which affects around 450 people in Scotland alone. Every single charity brunch, dance, walk, and dinner brings us one step closer to understanding this devastating disease and finding a cure for those who face it.
Living North are extremely proud to be supporting the My Name’5 Doddie foundation at our Christmas Fair, from the 1st to the 4th November. The home of the event this year is rather fittingly Kingston Park Stadium, a place very dear to Doddie as it’s also the home of the Newcastle Falcons. There will be plenty of ways to donate to Doddie’s foundation at our Christmas Fair, so whether you give big or small, you can help make a difference for those suffering from Motor Neurone Disease.
You can also donate to My Name’5 Doddie online at www.myname5doddie.co.uk