Doddie Weir, former international for Scotland and the Lions, was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease four years ago. In this time, he has campaigned as ferociously as he once played, and in doing so has ignited the rugby community in the fight against MND.
From the first of January, until the Calcutta Cup in 12 days, folks from all over Scotland and beyond have participated in DoddieAid: an inter-district challenge to complete as many miles and raise as much money as possible. So far, over £700k has been raised for MND research.
My rugby team in Dundee are participating (obviously for the winning district!) and all of us have found personal benefits to the challenge as well as the obvious feel-good factor in donating to charity. I think it’s safe to say all of us were struggling to get outside enough in yet another lockdown, and it’s been a godsend for making us rack up the miles. It forces us out for a walk, run, or cycle, and I for one invariably feel far less grumpy at the end of this than the beginning. The team dynamic of encouraging one another on also means the world at a time when we can’t train or play together.
The Dundee Valkyries are among star-studded company in doing the challenge: while we are opposing Gerard Butler, we do have Ewen McGregor on the North and Midlands team (incidentally, while I enjoy a lot of McGregor’s roles, I may be the only person who thinks of him as yer man from Moulin Rouge, rather than Obi Wan Kenobi).
Excitingly, there has recently been a breakthrough in MND research, but the task of finding a cure is not over yet. If you want to help out, you can sign up for DoddieAid (and get a tartan snood!), or donate here.
In honour of just 12 days until the Calcutta Cup, I’ll leave you with highlights of perhaps my favourite rugby match I’ve ever seen, and some links to other things you might enjoy.
‘maybe this year will be better than the last:’ for fortnightly bursts of joy, subscribe to my friend Lauren Thurman’s TinyLetter here.
If you missed my last post, In Defence of Mediocrity, go and rejoice in my entirely flat banana bread (and perhaps some deeper thoughts).