Scotland rugby legend and former British Lion star, Doddie Weir, has confirmed he has motor neurone disease at the age of 46.
Weir, who earned 61 caps, announced the news on Twitter, writing: “something I think you should know” with a link to the Euan MacDonald Centre, a Scotland-wide research initiative based at the University of Edinburgh, which Doddie has pledged to raise awareness of the condition for Global MND Awareness Day.
“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 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.”
The former second-row and No. 8 forward is supporting researchers at the Euan MacDonald Centre in their quest to better understand the disease, in the hope that it will eventually lead to new therapies.
MND – also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s Disease – is a progressive disease. It occurs when specialised nerve cells called motor neurons break down.