Portrait no.26

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26 of 26. Euan MacDonald MBE. Euan was 29 years old when he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2003. He lives in Edinburgh with his wife and two sons. Following his diagnosis, Euan and his father Donald MacDonald CBE resolved to ensure MND research was brought to the forefront of everyone’s mind in Edinburgh and further afield. Being entrepreneurs from investment backgrounds, they established the internationally recognised centre for MND research – The Euan MacDonald Centre. We photographed Euan there in June this year. “The last 15 years have been full of ups, downs, changes and adaptations. When I was first diagnosed the situation was similar to what it is now with only one drug approved to treat MND. Its effects are minimal. But huge strides have been made in areas like genetics and stem cells. I'm convinced treatments will come. Spending time with people like Professor Siddharthan Chandran and others just gives you more confidence in that. While we're waiting for those treatments, I should mention something that has improved my quality of life and extended it – my tracheostomy. It was done 6 years ago after I was admitted to hospital with a chest infection. Tracheostomies for people with MND are rare in the UK. Research has suggested that in an 18 year period there were 38 of us. The reason I'm so passionate about it is because of what it's given me – 6 more years (and counting) with family and friends. 6 more years with my boys. It's impossible to put the value into words. It’s not for everyone but I know I was the recipient of complete pot luck, not a systematic approach. I happened to be under the care of an anaesthetist who said it was an option and they could deal with the after care in my home. There are not many home ventilation teams, experienced in keeping people with a tracheostomy in the community, in the UK. I'm asking that pot luck be taken out of it – and that it can be an option regardless of where you live. I'd like to say thanks to Miles and Cristian. What they are doing with 26Miles4MND gives more hope for people like me that MND will one day be a thing of the past!” Donate: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/26miles4mnd

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