Mark Williams, 39, is described by others as ‘an inspiration’ following his diagnosis 18 months ago. He will take to the pitch in front of the sold-out crowd as Wales face Scotland on Saturday, February 3, marking the first match played in Wales since the Scottish rugby legend and MND campaigner Doddie Weir’s death in 2022.
Doddie Weir, who earned 61 caps for Scotland during his career, revealed his MND diagnosis in 2017. To help fellow sufferers and support further research, he launched the charity ‘My Name’5 Doddie Foundation’. The Doddie Aid 2024 fundraiser, organized by the foundation, will culminate with the Wales v Scotland opener.
Doddie Aid is a virtual mass-participation event conducted over a five-week period, and it has raised over £4 million for MND research since its inception in 2020. Large numbers of fundraisers have participated this year, resulting in hundreds of thousands of pounds already raised for MND research.
Mark Williams and his young family have been hailed as ‘a beacon of light’ within the Abertillery community for their determination in raising money for Doddie Aid despite the limitations and difficulties of the disease. Despite doctors’ expectations, Mr. Williams regularly exercises and has even climbed Pen-y-Fan, the highest peak in South Wales.
Williams expressed his honor in handing over the match ball for the Doddie Weir Cup, emphasizing the fight against MND. He stated, ‘Doddie Weir continues to be an inspiration to the whole MND community, showing everybody what’s possible even when facing this terrible disease.’
Director of the foundation, Paul Thompson, commented on the significance of the Doddie Weir Cup as a symbol of the special bond between Wales and Scotland and a celebration of Doddie’s life and continued impact through campaigning. Scott Quinnell, the British and Irish Lion and captain of Team Wales for Doddie Aid, praised Mark’s incredible efforts and described him as an inspiration.
Note: Episode timestamps have been edited out for clarity.
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