Sunday 19 May 2019

Amazing support gives me a reason to get up every morning - Doddie

Doddie Weir. Photo: Sportsfile
Doddie Weir. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Former Scotland and Lions lock Doddie Weir has praised the rugby community, who have rallied around him since he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) in June 2017.

The work that the 48-year-old has since done to raise funds for research into helping to find a cure for the horrific condition has been nothing short of astounding.

Last year, the My Name'5 Doddie Foundation donated more than €1m towards vital research, while the hope is that they will do the same again in 2019.

Speaking in Dublin ahead of the Ireland v England legends match in the RDS on February 1, for which all proceeds will be split among the My Name'5 Doddie Foundation, Rugby Players Ireland Foundation, Restart Rugby, the IRFU Charitable Trust and Irish motor neurone charities, Weir (pictured) hailed the support that he has received from all around the world.

"I think there were about 450 events put on for my foundation last year, which in itself is unbelievable," said Weir.

"Somebody's just finished a marathon every week for 52 weeks, tractor sales, sheep sales... we've had young kids who've made toast in school for 5p, generating money and awareness.

"We've had people climbing, doing all sorts of things, which in a great way is bringing people together over what is a horrific thing.

"That gives me a lot of satisfaction, with people having a good time and bringing awareness. It's just trying to give people with MND a chance."

A 61-times capped Scottish international, Weir also toured with the Lions in 1997 before a knee injury scuppered his chances of a Test cap.

"The rugby public and players is such a lovely environment, it's such a lovely network of family that when there is an issue, whether it's MND, cancer or a player who has been chopped down with a heart attack, you've seen it already," he added.

"There's just such an amazing body and spirit that a generation all come together to help you in any way they can. I'm certainly finding that with this issue from all the people, especially from the rugby environment.

"It has been staggering and very difficult to explain in that I don't feel that I have done any different to anyone else.

"But with that truly amazing help it gives me a reason to get up in the morning and you can see with the Irish rugby that is happening, the Scottish Rugby Union's help has been truly amazing, they have allowed me to walk on with the ball in the New Zealand game and that has helped us propel where we are and what we did.

"The Doddie Cup (Scotland v Wales) is amazing because I am still living - you normally never get a trophy named after you while you are still living, so it was quite special that I could get to enjoy that.

"To put this (legends) game on for us on February 1 is truly amazing. The spirit of rugby is unbelievable."

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