Scotland’s only centre for research into motor neurone disease (MND) started with a thumb that refused to work.
In 2003 Euan MacDonald, a University of Edinburgh law graduate, was working in corporate finance. A keen sports enthusiast, he was purchasing a bicycle when he discovered he was unable to move through the gears. It was the first sign of a disease that would slowly chip away at his motor nerve cells. Nine years later he was confined to a wheelchair and restricted to communicating by a computer. But he is anything but powerless, and the project, which sees researchers creating a synthesised version of patient's voices, grew out of his own need.
In 2007, together with his father Donald MacDonald, Euan made a seven-figure donation to the University to establish the Euan MacDonald Centre for Motor Neurone Disease Research.
The donation has also attracted £3 million of additional investment, which supports the work of six professors, has reanimated the national register for MND and has brought together the work of nearly 70 researchers worldwide. The fight is gathering pace.
Patients have to know that efforts are being made to help them, that progress is happening, and I think we have picked the right place for it.
Mr Donald MacDonald
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