Sports Personality of the Year 2019: why Doddie Weir was presented with the SPOTY Helen Rollason Award
Doddie Weir gave a rousing and emotional speech on Sunday night as he received the Helen Rollason Award at the Sport's Personality of the Year ceremony in Aberdeen.
The former Scotland rugby player's battle with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is well publicised due to Weir's fearless and selfless push to find a cure for the disease.
His efforts were recognised on Sunday night when Anne, Princess Royal presented the towering 6 ft 6 athlete with the gong, which is awarded "for outstanding achievement in the face of adversity".
Praising his efforts, the Princess Royal outlined his efforts, stating: “It’s a pleasure to see Doddie here. I’ve been a Patron of the MND society for 30 years and I know what a difference you’ve made and its impact and your ability to fund research for MND. For that, we are extremely grateful. It has been a real pleasure.”
'Facing his biggest challenge'
My Name'5 Doddie foundation was established shortly after Weir revealed that he was living with Motor Neurone Disease in 2017.
Through tireless fundraising efforts the foundation has provided backing for research into the - as yet - incurable disease.
As well as providing backing for research, the charity aims to help those touched by MND from assistance with mobility and transport needs, to care and basic living requirements.
The foundation was launched by Doddie in response to the "lack of options given to MND sufferers" according to the foundation's official website.
Rather than raise money in the name of a different charity, Weir, along with friends and family launched the My Name'5 Doddie with the aim of working more closely with the MND research community in order to understand the disease better and recognise where funding could be most effectively targeted.
Since launching, the charity has raised £5m, with Weir outlining in his speech that "recognition and support has been staggering". Money raised has been invested in clinical trials, as well as foundation grants for those living with the disease.
What is the Helen Rollason Award?
Launched in 1999, the Helen Rollason Award recognises "outstanding achievement in the face of adversity" with previous winners including Tanni Grey-Thompson and Ellen MacArthur.
The award was launched in memory of BBC Sport presenter Helen Rollason who died in August 1999, two years after she had been diagnosed with cancer.
After she was initially diagnosed with the disease, Rollason relentlessly fund-raised for the cancer wing at the North Middlesex Hospital where she received the majority of her treatment.
How to get involved with My Name'5 Doddie
The foundation's official website encourages those inspired by Weir's heroic battle to run their own fundraising events, whether that be a cake sale or a sponsored cycle.
Funds raised for the charity can be donated on the foundation's official donation page.