Government to offer £50m to MND research
It was announced this month that the government will put at least £50m over the course of five years into research to find a cure for MND. Many notable figures in the sports industry have taken on their own challenges to raise money for MND research and now the government has offered their support to step up the efforts to find a cure.
Motor neurone disease affects the brain and the nervous system, eventually causing muscles to stop functioning altogether and for patients this means constant care is needed to support them. Currently, there is no cure for MND, and many patients unfortunately die within two years of diagnosis.
Hundreds of MND sufferers have signed an open letter to government detailing how the condition is currently a “death sentence,” but research has developed and the search for a cure or life-saving treatment can be found according to campaigners.
Campaigners have noted the previous funding of less than £5m a year into MND research does not go far enough. Detailing that MND is not a rare disease as it would kill one in 300 people with the current population.
Kevin Sinfield, the ex-Leeds Rhino’s rugby league legend, is a notable campaigner for MND research following his former teammate’s, and best friend’s, MND diagnosis back in 2019, Rob Burrow. He recently completed a 101-mile run in 24 hours and has raised more than £1m at the time of writing. Last year, he ran seven marathons in seven days and raised £2.7m in the process. A staggering amount considering how much the government has funded MND research in recent years.
Following Kevin’s mammoth 101-mile run, Burrow told BBC Breakfast, “The money raised will help people to get great facilities for a new care centre and to help find a cure for MND. Today is an amazing day for the whole community and will benefit every sufferer.”
Chris Johnson, an ex-assistant chief constable at West Midlands Police, has welcome the increased funding from the government. "I think this offers some hope to the MND community across the country. We hope it can move from a terminal disease to a treatable one within the [five-year] time frame."
Chris was diagnosed in 2018 and had to retire from his job but he is thankful to have seen another Christmas with his family and spend birthdays with his children, despite his condition deteriorating. Chris also reiterates that MND is not a rare disease, "Motor neurone disease doesn't discriminate, whether it's age, whether it's religion, whether it's around your nationality, it truly is a disease for everybody," he said at the time.
Overall, the extra funding has been welcomed by both MND patients and campaigners. The latest funding pledge, from the Department of Health and Social Care, is part of a £375m investment for research and treatments for a range of neurodegenerative diseases. Health Secretary Sajid Javid has ensured he is committed to fight such diseases and support those affected, describing conditions like MND having a “devastating impact on people’s lives.”