Heroic Doddie Weir admits his battle against MND is "bigger than ever"

Four years after revealing he had been diagnosed with motor neurone disease, former Scotland and Lions forward Doddie Weir has said his fight against the condition is “bigger than ever”

Weir—who recently celebrated his 51st birthday—went public with his diagnosis in June 2017 and has since gone on to raise millions for MND research, largely through the My Name'5 Doddie Foundation.

Former England centre Will Greenwood toured alongside Weir during the 1997 British and Irish Lions series in South Africa, although a knee injury meant the latter’s involvement was minimal.

Greenwood ventured out to Weir’s farm near Blainslie in the Scottish Borders in 2018, where the former Scotland lock updated his old team-mate on living with MND.

Weir’s condition has deteriorated since then, and he told the Telegraph his battle against MND is more important now as he seeks to raise awareness and funds for research into the illness.

Speaking from his home in Scotland, he said: “I think my fight is bigger than ever now to help people who are not as lucky as I am, to keep thinking positive.

“We’re doing everything we can to help me. Keep staying strong, keep up the good work, and we’ll work out together.”

The rugby community has been generous in its support of Weir’s cause since his condition came to light, while the former pro has been extremely dedicated in his fundraising despite the illness.

The My Name’5 Doddie Foundation published an impact report for the year up to October 2020, which revealed it had collected more than £2million for MND research through fundraising that year alone.

Weir likened his fight against MND to a rugby match in the sense that one’s job isn’t done until the final whistle, explaining the result will take care of itself provided one does “all the little tasks.”

Just as the 61-cap former Scotland international was a modest and unselfish character on the pitch, he directed praise towards others helping in his quest.

“I also hope it makes clear that I am not doing this on my own. Far from it," he wrote.

"Much like my playing days I feel like a small cog in a big machine that has grown up around me from my chiropractor/miracle worker Donald Francis to the tireless support of Jill Douglas (CEO of the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation). And of course, there is my immediate family, who give me so much strength every day.

“Sometimes I feel embarrassed to receive all the attention that I have done because I am not doing it by myself. It is a team effort, I am just the not so handsome face of it. Also I would like to make clear that this was never just about curing my disease. This was about the wider fight for all those thousands of people who do not have the support network that I am fortunate enough to possess.

“Now on to my next job.”

Named after the national hero, rugby union fixtures between Scotland and Wales are now played as the ‘Doddie Weir Cup’, christened as such in 2018.

Weir will be cheering on his fellow British and Irish Lions when they face South Africa in Cape Town this Saturday, following in the footsteps he tread almost a quarter-of-a-century ago.

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