HELENSBURGH’S MSP paid tribute to sufferers of motor neurone disease at an awareness raising event at the Scottish Parliament.

MND Scotland, a charity supporting those fighting the debilitating illness, held a reception in Holyrood's Garden Lobby as part of Motor Neurone Disease Awareness Week.

Jackie Baillie attended the event alongside MND patients and campaigners, as well as representatives from the charity.

She said: “I was delighted to be able to attend MND Scotland’s reception and the event was a great opportunity to raise awareness of this disease and to speak to people affected by the illness about how we can support them.

“I have seen close up just how devastating the disease is and the impact on those diagnosed with the condition and their family and friends.

“I would like to congratulate MND Scotland on their new Myth-Busting MND campaign, which highlights and challenges some of the misconceptions and stigmas that are associated with the illness.

“I also want to commend the brave Scots across the country who have shared their experiences of MND to help raise awareness.”

MND is a terminal illness which affects the brain’s communication with the muscles, resulting in the loss of the ability to walk, talk, eat, drink, and even breathe, unaided, with MND sufferers’ average life expectancy after diagnosis just 20 months.

A debate was held on the day at the Scottish Parliament, highlighting the disease and pushing for further funding into research for a cure.

It is now a legal obligation for health boards across Scotland to provide MND sufferers with a communications device, should they need it.

Craig Stockton, chief executive of MND Scotland, said: “I’d like to thank all of the MSPs who have supported us this MND Awareness Week.

“With the support of the Scottish Parliament we can make a real change to the lives of those affected by MND in Scotland, and we look forward to continuing to work together to support people, and find a cure.”