More cash to fund research urgently needed
A football foundation is backing a call for the UK government to invest £50 million into motor neurone disease (MND) research.
Heart of Midlothian players are standing with MND Scotland to urge the government to invest £50 million over five years into targeted MND research.
The United to End MND campaign is being led by a coalition which includes MND Scotland, the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, the MND Association, people living with MND, and neurologists from across the UK.
Currently funding for targeted MND research stands at less than £5 million a year, which the coalition says is not enough when £50 million over five years would fund a virtual institute for MND research, providing the infrastructure needed for accelerating treatments for the illness.
Last month the coalition delivered a personal letter from people living with MND to 10 Downing Street, which stated that MND is a death sentence but that research has now reached a point where a cure or life-saving treatments can be found.
Andrew McKinlay Heart of Midlothian chief executive, said: “We know all too well at Heart of Midlothian the devastating impact MND has, having lost one of our own, Marius Zaliukas.
“If there was a cure, or effective treatments, Marius could still be with us. That’s why we are here today to support this call to the UK Government, for more targeted investment into MND research.
“The work MND Scotland does to support families living with this frightening disease is hugely important, as is their drive to find a cure for future generations. We are united with them to help end MND.”
Rachel Maitland, MND Scotland’s chief executive, said : “The support United to End MND has received from people in the community, politicians, clinicians, researchers and partners has been incredible to date, and we thank Heart of Midlothian for joining with us too.
“Too many lives like Marius’ have already been lost to MND, and people living with the disease today do not have time to wait for a cure. MND isn’t incurable, it’s just under-funded. Together, we will beat MND, but we cannot do it without the UK Government’s support.”
A bid for investment has been submitted to the UK government’s Spending Review, and the call has already been debated in the UK Parliament after a petition to garner public support gathered more than 100,000 signatures in just three weeks. Members of the coalition have also met with key politicians to explain the desperate need for the cash, to shore up the investment made by charities and industry.