Scotland politics

Sturgeon and Miliband support Gordon Aikman's call for doubling of MND funds

Gordon Aikman
Image caption Gordon Aikman has become an MND campaigner since being diagnosed with the terminal condition last year

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and UK Labour leader Ed Miliband have backed calls to double research funding into motor neurone disease.

Gordon Aikman, a political campaigner with the illness, had urged politicians to double funding into finding a cure.

Following the announcement, Mr Aikman took to twitter in a bid to get support from David Cameron and Nick Clegg.

He will also issue an appeal to party leaders in a speech at the Edinburgh International Science Festival.

Ahead of the address Mr Aikman said, with the right funding and co-ordination, Scotland could be on the cusp of finding a cure.

"Half of people with MND die within 14 months of diagnosis," Mr Aikman said. "The odds are stacked against me. This is likely to be the last general election I will see.

"So with just weeks until we go to the polls I am making a direct and personal plea to all the party leaders. David, Ed, Nick and Nicola - the ball is in your court.

"Don't tell me it can't be done. Let's dare to dream. We are poised to find the cure here in Scotland."

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption After getting the support of Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, Mr Aikman appealed to David Cameron and Nick Clegg on twitter.

'Our chance'

He said Scotland was home to world-leading MND researchers with a population which could be easily monitored by the NHS, while the recent decision to double the number of MND nurses would allow better tracking of patient progress.

"Scotland is the ideal place to drive both the discovery science, as well as deliver a stratified medical approach for individual patient care and ultimately better-focused clinical trials," he said.

He added: "I am dying but I am confident and excited about what the future of MND research holds.

"This is it. This is our chance. With the political will and modest investment we can, and we must, find a cure for future generations."

Mr Aikman was diagnosed with the incurable degenerative condition last year and he has since raised more than £250,000 for MND research through his Gordon's Fightback campaign.

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