Scotland will turn out in Doddie Weir’s tartan for their match against New Zealand on Sunday to mark the fifth anniversary of his motor neurone disease research foundation.
The former Scotland rugby international is expected to be in the crowd for the match, five years on from his appearance at the same fixture just months after he revealed his Motor Neurone Disease (MND) diagnosis.
He went on to found the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation (MNDF), which has now committed almost £8 million to research projects across the UK.
At the match on Sunday, Scotland will wear specially created shirts with numbers in Doddie Weir’s famous blue and yellow tartan to mark the Foundation’s milestone.
Weir wore the number 5 jersey in his club career and when he won 61 caps for Scotland.
Head coach Gregor Townsend, Weir’s friend and former teammate, said: “It’s of huge significance that Doddie will be at BT Murrayfield with us on Sunday.
“It’s (Doddie’s attendance) to acknowledge what Doddie has done over the last five years, show our love for him and his fight against MND, and also it’s to remember that great night five years ago when he launched the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.
“So many people in Scottish rugby feel they’ve been on this journey with him and I know he has inspired a lot of people to do things to raise money and probably change peoples lives. I know he’s going to change a lot of lives in the future due to the work he’s doing.
“It’s great the numbers on the back of our shirts will be in Doddie’s tartan, as we’ll feel we’ll have Doddie with us.
“He’s a big supporter of the team. I always get a message the night before our game saying we’re going to win this weekend and wishing us all the best. It’ll mean a lot to him if we get the win on Sunday and that’s what we’re working towards.”
Weir, 52, will be joined by wife Kathy and sons Hamish, Angus, and Ben, for the match against the All Blacks at the BT Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh.
The family will also be joined by a special guest, six-year-old Charlie Mackenzie, from Invergordon, one of the Foundation’s youngest fundraisers.
The MNDF’s mission is to find a cure for MND, and in the five years since it was founded, £7.8 million has been committed to research projects across the UK while a further £1.3 million has been dedicated to supporting people living with MND.
Jill Douglas, MNDF chief executive, said: “The Foundation’s success has been down to a combination of things – but of course primarily it is the power of Doddie. He is such a big character and much loved by so many people.
“His positivity, energy, and drive to make a difference is inspiring. I also believe more and more people have become aware of MND, it is not as rare as many think, and they want to help us achieve our vision of a world free of motor neurone disease.
“Doddie has been so candid and frank about how the disease affects him and his family. He wants to be a voice for others who share his diagnosis but don’t have the support and platform he has.
“We receive so many amazing letters and emails from people who have been touched by Doddie’s story and want to help.
“We also hear from people living with MND who take comfort from Doddie’s strength and openness. He has been instrumental in raising awareness and we continue to challenge the MND research community to push for progress.”
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