Scot to cycle 400 miles across Dubai desert in aid of MND charity

Sandy Stirling refuses to let injury setback derail plans for 24-hour challenge.

A man is preparing to saddle up in the heat of the Dubai desert for his most daring challenge yet – despite suffering an injury setback.

Sandy Stirling, from Angus, will take on a gruelling 24-hour cycle, raising awareness of Motor Neurone Disease.

He’s urging others to take on their own challenge to fund research into the illness.

Last year, he cycled 362 miles in 24 hours, but he’s now moving up a gear as he prepares to hit 400 miles.

Ahead of setting off on Friday evening, Sandy told STV News: “In all honesty, I can’t walk properly right now as I’ve damaged a nerve between my toe bones.

“Every time I walk, I feel it, but I’m looking forward to it. Preparation has gone well, diet not quite as well as last year, but the nice thing is that I now know what to expect.”

It’s an important cause for Sandy, whose father Alexander died from the disease in March 2019, aged 83.

Sandy with his father, Alexander.

It led him to set up MND24, an initiative encouraging people to take on a 24-hour challenge in March.

“Last year I ended up with 44 events in 21 countries and one world record, which was 24 hours, 24 minutes of salsa in Cuba,” Sandy explained.

“We’re currently at 185 events across 36 countries with four attempts at world records.

“We have a 24-hour par-three golf course in Brisbane, we have stuff happening in Mexico, the US, Canada, you name it. We’re literally on every single continent and it’s been incredible.”

There’s no cure for Motor Neurone Disease, but the charity ‘My Name’5 Doddie Foundation’ is committed to finding one, by investing the money raised through fundraising.

It was founded in 2017 by Scottish rugby player, Doddie Weir, following his diagnosis. He died in November last year.

Jessica Lee, from the charity, said: “We fund a full spectrum of research, so that includes research to look at MND disease biology so that we can identify new targets for future treatments.

“We fund studies to develop new drugs and test them in the lab, and then we identify those that are the most promising and we support the delivery of clinical trials.

“So, we can rapidly and efficiently test those new drugs in people living with MND.”

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