Help to find a cure for terminal illness

Ann and Jim Irvine from Uddingston. Ann was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease a year ago, just after Jim had been given the all-clear from prostate cancer.
Ann and Jim Irvine from Uddingston. Ann was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease a year ago, just after Jim had been given the all-clear from prostate cancer.

An Uddingston women diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) a year ago wants to raise the profile of the illness.

Ann Irvine (69), was told she had the terminal illness, which claimed the life of Celtic legend Jimmy Johnstone 10 years ago, last July.

Ann, who is married to Jim (70), first noticed something was wrong in August 2012 because her left leg had gone limp.

The doctor initially thought this was the result of a stroke as Ann’s left hand was also weaker than it should be, though she herself hadn’t noticed, and after over two years of tests was told she had MND.

This was a rollercoaster time for the couple as Jim had been given the all-clear after eight years of battling prostate cancer not long before they found out about Ann’s MND.

Ann said: “We’ve lived and are still living great lives. My glass is always half full.

“Of course we have bad days, but on the whole we remain optimistic and look to the future together. What is the point in worrying about something you can’t change?

“The support we have received and the people we have met during this journey have been wonderful, both from MND Scotland and the NHS. I couldn’t fault the care I have received so far and we have never felt alone.”

Although Ann and Jim do not dwell on the diagnosis it has changed their day-to-day lives. Ann has had two falls recently resulting in a sprained ankle and broken wrist.

She said, “I now use a walking frame around the house because my balance is off. When I’m out and about I have to use a wheelchair because I get tired much more easily than I used to.

“Jim and I used to love hiking and would often visit the Cairngorms and the Yorkshire Dales. Now we spend a lot of our time going on holidays, mostly to our caravan in Lendalfoot.”

After cancer research helped in Jim’s recovery Ann would like to see MND research receive more funding.

She said: “I feel really strongly about research. Research into cancer saved Jim’s life, without it he might not be here today.

“It’s just a shame we don’t know as much about MND and that it isn’t highlighted as much as it should be. That’s why we want to raise more awareness and encourage people to help fund research.

“I am asking everyone to help us ‘Cure MND’ and donate £5 to MND Scotland by texting CUREMND to 70660 or visit www.mndscotland.org.uk to donate online.”