FORMER Scotland captain Rob Wainwright has issued a call to arms to all rugby supporters – Scottish, Italian or from anywhere else in the world – to join him in marching this weekend in support of his close friend and ex team-mate Doddie Weir, who has been diagnosed with MND.
Wainwright, who made his Scotland debut against Ireland in 1992 and played 31 of his 37 matches for Scotland alongside Weir, said –
Doddie Weir’s condition and the courage with which he is facing it has been an inspiration to us all. The tragic fact is that there is no effective treatment for Motor Neurone Disease at this time. Doddie would like to change that, and we are calling on all lovers of rugby out there to help him in that quest.
With the final weekend of this year’s exciting 6 Nations fast approaching, those of us lucky enough to be in Rome are walking with Doddie to the Stadio Olympico, taking part in the Doddie Gump March of 1000 Headbands. If any of you are out there, we would love you to join us on the 2.5 mile walk, leaving from Piazza del Popolo at 11.30am. Go to www.doddiegump.com to sign up. Or look on Facebook for details.
But you don’t need to be in Rome to take part!
1000 people logging 2.5 roman miles will add up to 2,500 miles. But we are greedy and want to take Doddie round the world over the Super Saturday weekend. A mere 24,901 miles. For this we will need a virtual March of 10,000 Headbands. People back in Britain, Ireland and beyond walking 2.5 miles in support of Doddie, or cycling or running further, or your club mini rugby section putting on headbands and running a mile together. There are so many ways to bag those miles, and we would be grateful for any help that the players, coaches or administrators at rugby clubs can give – be it organising an exercise event that weekend or encouraging your members to get involved.
John Allan [the former Scotland hooker] is coordinating a 25 km cycle and braai at his rugby club in Durban that day. Hawick and Langholm have both already had their mini sections in headbands supporting the Doddie Gump. Merchiston School have run a headband cross country race. We would love you to join that list.
Why are we doing it? Well partly to show our support for a much loved member of our rugby family, and to acknowledge the selfless courage he has displayed. But also to raise money for the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, which will fund research to better understand and treat MND for future sufferers of this terrible condition.
If you would like to help, go to www.doddiegump.com and we please ask all participants to sign up, log their miles, donate or even better set up a fund raising page. Let’s create a March of 10,000 Headbands, where every mile counts to get us round the world in a weekend, and every pound raised will count in the fight to find effective treatments for MND, for which presently there are none, because as Doddie says: ‘That is unacceptable’.