Four years after revealing he had been diagnosed with motor neuron disease, former Scotland and Lions striker Doddie Weir said his battle with the disease was “bigger than ever”.
Weir – who recently celebrated his 51st birthday – went public with his diagnosis in June 2017 and has since raised millions for MND research, largely through the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.
Former England center Will Greenwood toured alongside Weir in the 1997 British and Irish Lions series in South Africa, although a knee injury meant the latter’s involvement was minimal.
Greenwood ventured to Weir’s Farm near Blainslie in the Scottish Borders in 2018, where the former Scottish Lock informed his former teammate about life with MND.
Weir’s condition has deteriorated since then, and he told The Telegraph that his battle with the MND is bigger now as he seeks to raise awareness and fund research into the disease.
Speaking from his home in Scotland, he said: “I think my fight is bigger than ever now to help people who are not as fortunate as I am to continue to think positively.
“We are doing everything we can to help me. Keep on staying strong, keep up the good work, and we’ll work together. “
The rugby community has been generous in supporting Weir’s cause since his condition was revealed, while the former pro has been extremely dedicated in his fundraising despite the illness.
The My Name’5 Doddie Foundation released an impact report for the year through October 2020, which revealed it had raised over £ 2million for MND research through fundraising this only that year.
Weir compared his fight against MND to a rugby match in the sense that the job is not done until the final whistle, explaining that the result will be done by itself as long as “all the little chores” are done. .
Just as the former Scotland 61-cap international was a modest and selfless figure on the pitch, he addressed praise to those who helped him in his quest.
“I also hope that it is clear that I am not doing it on my own. Far from it,” he wrote.
“Much like my playing days, I feel like a little cog in a big machine that grew 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, which gives me so much strength every day.
“Sometimes I feel embarrassed to receive all the attention I have received because I am not doing it myself. It’s a team effort, I’m just the not so beautiful face. I also want to make it clear that it was never just about curing my illness. It was the bigger fight for all of those thousands of people who don’t have the support network that I’m fortunate enough to have.
“Now to my next job.”
Named after the national hero, the rugby union matches between Scotland and Wales are now played under the name “Doddie Weir Cup”, named as such in 2018.
Weir will cheer on his fellow British and Irish Lions when they face South Africa in Cape Town this Saturday, following in the footsteps he followed nearly a quarter of a century ago.