Celebrities and Professors join charity to help people with motor neurone disease fight COVID-19

Eddie Redmayne - PatronThe Motor Neurone Disease Association have secured support from their patron Academy Award winning actor Eddie Redmayne OBE and rugby heroes Doddie Weir OBE (Scotland, Newcastle Falcons) and Rob Burrow (Leeds Rhinos) – who both have MND – to raise awareness of the charity’s campaign #GetMNDonTheList

The campaign is asking Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, to include motor neurone disease (MND) on the Government’s list of clinically extremely vulnerable persons in its document ‘Guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from COVID-19’.  Having MND listed explicitly is important as those on the list have been granted certain protective measures such as priority access to supermarket deliveries.

The celebrities join a record-breaking number (almost 5,000) of the charity’s supporters who have asked their MP to lobby Matt Hancock about the issue, together with 40 of the UK’s leading MND professors, neurologists and consultants who have written a joint letter to the Government giving clinical advice on why people with MND need to be regarded as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’.

Eddie Redmayne, who has been a Patron of the MND Association since 2015 after he portrayed Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, said:

“I am sure that these are complicated decisions for the government to make during this difficult time but it is astonishing to me that those living with motor neurone disease have not been automatically included on the ‘extremely clinically vulnerable’ list. MND is a devastating, fast-progressing, fatal illness that I have observed first-hand – and it is brutal. It affects an individual’s ability to walk, talk, eat, drink and breathe.

At the moment, without clinical monitoring, people with MND are at risk of rapid deterioration during the lockdown due to hospital appointments being postponed, and are vulnerable to developing respiratory impairment during this time without this being recorded. The only sure way of keeping everyone with MND safe is to give them access to the vital assistance that the ‘extremely clinically vulnerable’ list affords them – including prioritised food deliveries and PPE for their carers. The Northern Irish government has updated their lists of extremely vulnerable persons to include people living with MND and it’s vital England and Wales do the same.”

Rugby heroes Doddie Weir and Rob Burrow have both supported the campaign on social media, with Doddie tweeting a video message to Matt Hancock which was ‘liked’ over 12.6k times and ‘re-tweeted’ over 6.3k times.

To join Eddie Redmayne and almost 5,000 other supporters please help by writing to your MP, asking them to contact Matt Hancock and #GetMNDonTheList.  It only takes 30 seconds, or you can personalise the letter to give your MP more background if you wish.

This campaign has now closed. Thanks for your support.

For further information and support contact our MND Connect helpline

mndconnect 0808 802 6262