Gay Motor Neurone Disease campaigner who raised £500k dies
Motor Neurone Disease (MND) campaigner Gordon Aikman has died at the age of 31, his husband confirmed.
Mr Aikman had been diagnosed with the terminal illness in 2014, when he vowed to do everything he could to help find a cure.
His husband confirmed the news on Twitter, writing: “My beautiful husband Gordon Aikman has died. We are all heartbroken. He was my best friend, my soulmate and the love of my life.”
— Joe Pike (@joepike) February 3, 2017
The couple had married in 2015, a year after the terminal diagnosis.
His extraordinary efforts raised more than £530,000 for MND Scotland, and changed the way the Scottish government approached MND care.
Politicians from across the spectrum have paid moving tributes following the news.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wrote: “We are all heartbroken for you, Joe. Love and thoughts are with you and all of Gordon’s family.”
Scottish Labour leader said: “Gordon was a beautiful man who existed to do nothing but good in this world – just devastated”
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair also paid tribute, saying: “I am immensely saddened to hear that Gordon Aikman has died.
“He was a truly vital and remarkable man and I am proud to have known him.”
Mr Aikman wrote on his JustGiving page of the situation he faced: “I’m dying. And fast.
“That – in short – was what my doctor told me when I was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. It is not the news you expect when 29-years-old.
“There is no cure. Soon it will kill me. That’s why I am doing all I can while I can to raise money for MNS Scotland: a great charity that funds research into the disease.
“It’ll be too late for me, but we can and we must find a cure for the next generation.
“With your help I can turn a negative into a positive.”
His campaign, Gordon’s Fightback, led to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon agreeing to NHS Scotland doubling the number of MND specialist nurses and investing in research for a cure.
Craig Stockton, CEO of MND Scotland, said: “Everyone at MND Scotland is deeply saddened to hear of Gordon’s passing.
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“Although Gordon was diagnosed with a terminal illness, this has still come as a shock to us all. I feel privileged to have known Gordon and to have worked alongside him on MND Scotland’s Board of Trustees.
“In the face of a devastating diagnosis, at the age of just 29, Gordon turned his grief into a drive to fight for the rights of others affected and to fund a cure. In addition to his campaigning and fundraising efforts, Gordon has played a pivotal role in raising awareness of MND and the daily challenges people with the illness can face, through his own personal experiences.
“Gordon raised over £500,000 for MND Scotland which has been invested into cutting-edge research to find a cure.
“Gordon Aikman has been an inspiration to so many people across Scotland, not just to those affected by MND, but far beyond that.
“We cannot thank Gordon enough for everything he has done not only for the charity but for everyone affected by MND in Scotland.
“Our deepest sympathies are with his friends and family at this very sad time.”