Former north-east football star Martin Johnstone has dedicated the three years since his diagnosis with a life-limiting illness to fundraising and raising awareness.
And now his family are joining those efforts, with his cousin-in-law Abbie Taylor setting her sights on completing the 2021 London Marathon in aid of MND Scotland.
The former Cove Rangers, Peterhead, Elgin and Brechin striker was diagnosed with MND in August 2018.
Since then the 42-year-old dad-of-two has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the condition and funds for those charities working to find a cure and treatment for it.
His wife Jenny’s cousin, who was bridesmaid for the pair more than a decade ago, says she can’t wait to put her best foot forward to raise money for the fight against the “awful disease”.
Miss Taylor, 24, said: “Martin’s diagnosis came as a massive shock to us all, with him being so young and active we could hardly believe it.
“I was aware of MND as a disease with being a nurse, but my knowledge was fairly limited until Martin was diagnosed.
“His diagnosis made me very much realise that MND can affect anyone, regardless of anything else.”
Mr Johnston, who is dad to Calum, 12, and Sophie, 8, said: “I have had slow progression so far, mainly affecting my legs. Walking is difficult and I’ve had a few nasty falls.
“Before I was diagnosed, I’d been noticing problems with my leg for a couple of years. It just wasn’t working properly and I couldn’t put my finger on it. It was just a subtle difference.
“It was one night I was sat on my bed on my iPad, I noticed my legs were twitching away. As you do, you go into Google and type it in – straight away it came up with Motor Neurone Disease.
“It was very tough at the time of diagnosis, but now I have a positive mindset and am determined to fight it all the way.”
And to show her support, Miss Taylor, who nurses in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary’s intensive care unit, will be run the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday, October 3, in aid of MND Scotland and to support her cousin-in-law.
The former Mintlaw Academy pupil said: “The London marathon has been on my ‘bucket list’ for many years.
“I had entered the ballot for the past few years but was unsuccessful.
“I am so pleased I have now been given the amazing opportunity to finally run for a brilliant charity that is so close to our hearts as a family.
“Admittedly, I am not an avid runner, but having been more active than usual earlier in the year for another charity event, I thought I would try and push myself this year. I’m really excited to get started, and I’ve managed to rope Martin’s wife, Jenny, in as a running partner.
“I hope to raise as much money as I can to aid MND Scotland in finding effective treatments for this awful disease, as well as continuing to care and support to those affected.”
The charity has already offered the Johnston family advice, help and a grant towards making their home more accessible.
Iain McWhirter, from MND Scotland, said: “I’d like to thank Abbie for choosing to support MND Scotland at this year’s London Marathon. This cause is clearly very close to her heart, and I’m so glad we have been able to provide support to Martin and his family during this time.
“No one should have to go through MND alone, and without amazing fundraisers like Abbie, we simply could not continue helping families living with MND in Scotland, or fund the pioneering research which is taking us closer to that cure.”