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MND campaigner Gordon Aikman’s final written words

Gordon Aikman
Gordon Aikman

“My final scene has been written, bringing comfort each time it plays in my mind.”

Some of the final, moving words of Gordon Aikman, the Motor Neurone Disease campaigner who succumbed to the illness aged 31.

Mr Aikman’s last two columns for The Sunday Times, dealing with the end of his life and the reality of living with a disability, were published just days after his death.

The former Kirkcaldy High School head boy was just 29 and working as director of research for Better Together during the 2014 Scottish independence referendum campaign when he was diagnosed with MND.

Following his diagnosis, he formed the Gordon’s Fightback campaign, successfully lobbying First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to double the number of MND nurses and fund them through the NHS.

He also raised more than £500,000 for research to help find a cure for the terminal condition.

Mr Aikman wrote: “‘Was it peaceful?’ It is the question well-wishers at a funeral always ask. I can tell you now, with near certainty, my death will be peaceful. I will be in my home, in my bed, surrounded by those I love.

“I will drift in and out of consciousness. My breathing will slow and eventually cease. It is the death most of us would hope for. My final scene has been written, bringing comfort each time it plays in my mind.”

He also reflected on how “lucky I am not to have had a sudden death” so he could plan and prepare for it happening, including writing a will, ensuring his final hours were at home and leaving his body to medical research for “the most powerful legacy”.

Gordon Aikman outside the Scottish Parliament
Gordon Aikman outside the Scottish Parliament
Gordon Aikman
Gordon Aikman

In a second piece, Mr Aikman rallied against the idea that disabilities can be overcome through willpower, especially in relation to sporting prowess given advertising campaigns surrounding the Paralympics.

He wrote: “Let’s stop portraying disability as something that has to be conquered. Let’s remember that it takes superhuman levels of strength to accept what you cannot do.

“And let’s start a new story where success comes in many shapes and forms, and where the onus is on society to tear down the barriers that disable us.

“As for Tokyo 2020, forgive me, #NOICANT — and that’s just fine.”

Mr Aikman is survived by his husband, the journalist Joe Pike.

Anyone who would like to support Mr Aikman’s campaign can do so at GordonsFightback.com, or text MNDS85 £10 to 70070.

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