The match ball will be delivered by a FATHER-OF-TWO with motor neurone disease (MND), who has been called an “inspiration” to others, prior to this weekend’s Six Nations Dougie Weir Cup match.
Mark Williams, 39, who was given an 18-month diagnosis, will play in front of a packed house at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium on Saturday when Wales plays Scotland.
The game will be played in Wales for the first time since the Scottish rugby legend and MND activist passed away on November 26, 2022.
The game will also serve as the finale of Dougie Aid 2024, the yearly benefit forthe My Name’5 Dougie Foundation, which Weir founded in order to raise money for resarch into MND
With nearly 20,000 fundraisers taking part, this year’s campaign has already raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for the cause, all of which will go toward funding MND research.
Williams, who resides in Abertillery, Wales, with his spouse Stephanie and their kids Archie, 8, and Niamh, 4, has received recognition for being a role model for others because he doesn’t let the constraints and challenges of his illness define him.
In spite of his doctors, he recently defied them by climbing South Wales’ highest peak, Pen-y-Fan, in the Brecon Beacons. He still visits the gym on a daily basis.
In addition, he leads the 380-member Defiance Army League, who have traveled almost 35,000 miles together.
In the past two years, Williams has traveled over 800 miles in support of Dodger Aid, and now he’s urging everyone to rally for one last push.
In addition to being a proud supporter of Welsh rugby, he added, “it will be an enormous honor to pass over the match ball for the Doyle Weir Cup as an ambassador for the significance of our ongoing fight against MND.
“Doddie Weir remains a source of inspiration for the entire MND community, demonstrating to everyone what is achievable even in the face of this dreadful illness.
“We can only stop the terrible diagnosis that I, Bobby, and all other MND patients and their families had to endure in the future if we raise funds for research.” The likelihood of discovering a cure increases with each donation.
“Please dig deep for Dodger Aid and help us move closer to a cure, regardless of who you are or whatever connection you have to this weekend’s game.”
“The Dodger Weir Cup is always a symbol of the special bond between these nations, and now a celebration of Dodger’s life and the impact his tireless campaigning continues to have,” stated Paul Thompson, director of fundraising at the My Name’5 Dodger Foundation.
“Mark is a spokesperson for the entire MND community, and his stirring remarks serve as a constant reminder of the critical need for research into this illness.
Even for these last few days, anyone can contribute to our efforts to fulfill Teddy’s legacy—a world devoid of motor neuron disease—by registering for Teddy Aid. Every dollar will have an impact.
The captain of Team Wales for Dodger Aid, Scott Quinnell, a British and Irish Lion, stated: “Doddie Weir did so much for the MND community, using his profile and personality to raise millions for vital research.”
“It is now our responsibility to complete the work he began and raise the necessary funds to put an end to MND.
One of the people who has taken up the mantle is Mark. His achievements thus far have been astounding, and he is truly an inspiration.
The largest fundraiser for the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation is Doddie Aid, a five-week virtual mass participation event.
Over 80,000 participants have traveled four million miles in the event since it started in 2020, raising more than £4 million for MND research.