Motor Neurone Disease Research: Government Funding

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 11:07 am on 13th December 2022.

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Photo of Helen Whately Helen Whately Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care) 11:07 am, 13th December 2022

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Mundell. I begin by thanking Karl Turner for securing this debate. I too pay tribute to Doddie Weir, an incredible man who sadly passed away at the end of November. My thoughts are with his wife Kathy, and their sons, Hamish, Angus and Ben.

I had the good fortune to meet Doddie during an online roundtable—online because it was during the pandemic—and I was inspired by his campaign for a brighter future for people living with MND. His charity, the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, works tirelessly to raise funds for research and provide grants to people living with this cruel condition.

During the pandemic, and again since, I also met with my Mid-Kent MNDA branch as a constituency MP. Those meetings are vivid in my mind. The first call I had with them had literally everybody on the call in tears, as we talked about the experiences of those suffering with MND and their carers—usually family members—and how they were seeing their loved ones losing a bit of themselves day by day to MND. It is such a cruel disease, as the hon. Gentleman said. I am thankful to him and to several other Members of Parliament who have campaigned for research funding and actively lobbied me and other Ministers on that point.