247. Gordon Aikman
A passionate political campaigner from Edinburgh who has successfully fought to double the number of specialist Motor Neurone Disease (MND) nurses in Scotland and has raised hundreds of thousands for MND Scotland.
Gordon Aikman, 29, was diagnosed with MND last May, after initially trying to postpone the neurologist appointment due to his busy work schedule.
MND is a rare, progressive and debilitating disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord. This means messages gradually stop reaching muscles, which leads to weakness and wasting. Faced with a disease that kills half of people within 14 months, Gordon became determined to use the time he has left to improve conditions for MND sufferers across Scotland.
‘Gordon’s Fightback’ campaign has five main strands; to pay MND nurses from the public purse; double the number of MND specialist nurses; double funding into MND research, fast track benefits and to outlaw care charges. Thanks to the support of thousands of campaigners who have backed ‘Gordon’s Fightback’, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon agreed in January this year to put in place the first two points of his campaign.
In less than a year, Gordon has also raised over £220,000 for MND research and has become a trustee for MND Scotland. Gordon has no family history of MND, just like 95% of people who are diagnosed. Only a few months ago, Gordon could be found running to and from the gym, but soon he will have to use a wheelchair. Amongst many things the disease has taken from him, such as his dexterity and the ease of breathing, his handwriting has also become illegible.
Gordon knows his time left is limited, but his passion, his focus and his selfless campaign to help all those who may one day face the same diagnosis, has inspired many across the country to show their support and fight for more to be done to raise awareness of MND.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“Less than a year since his diagnosis, I am overwhelmed by the astonishing work that Gordon has undertaken, raising such a huge amount of money and successfully campaigning for a better quality of life for people living with MND over the course of a few months. Gordon is creating a whole network of supporters and advocates, which will go a long way towards finding and funding a cure for this devastating disease. I am honoured to name Gordon as the 226th Point of Light”.
“I am absolutely thrilled. This award is testament to the hard work and generosity of the thousands of people who have got behind Gordon’s Fightback. I am truly humbled by all the support I have received. But this is just the beginning. Our work is not done until we live in a world free from MND. That is why we need all political parties to commit to doubling MND research funding. It is simple: the more we invest, the quicker we will find a cure. “It will be too late for me, but we can and we must find a cure for future generations.”