A life dedicated to helping others
Lucy Smith, a 29-year-old grandmother from Elgin, has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) in King Charles’ New Year’s honours list for her voluntary services to motor neurone disease (MND) research. Lucy, who was diagnosed with MND at the age of 19, has raised around £200,000 for MND Scotland and has been an active campaigner and fundraiser for the cause.
Lucy, who is married to Tommy and has two children, Logan and Ahsoka, said she was “honoured” and “surprised” to receive the medal. She said: “When I got the email I had to double-check it wasn’t spam. It’s nice to be recognised for everything.”
Lucy is the first woman in the world with MND to have twice become a mum after diagnosis. She has also shared her journey in two BBC documentaries, ‘MND and 22-Year-Old Me’ and ‘Being Mum with MND’.
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Lucy received her medal from Moray’s Lord-Lieutenant, Major General Seymour Monro, on behalf of His Majesty the King, at an open-air investiture in Garmouth on Friday, July 21, 2023. The ceremony was attended by her family, friends, and representatives from MND Scotland.
Major General Monro said the BEM recognised Lucy’s “determination and inspiration.” He said: “Lucy has shown remarkable courage and resilience in the face of a devastating diagnosis. She has devoted much of her time and energy to raising awareness and funds for MND research, as well as making time count with her loved ones. She is a true role model and an asset to the Moray community.”
A hope for a cure
MND is a progressive and life-shortening disease that affects the nerve cells that control movement, speech, and breathing. There is currently no cure and the average life expectancy after diagnosis is around three years.
Lucy said she hopes that her efforts will help find a cure for MND and improve the lives of those living with the condition. She said: “I want to make a difference for the future generations. I want my children and grandchildren to grow up in a world where MND is no longer a death sentence. I want to see a cure in my lifetime.”
Lucy has been involved in MND Scotland’s No Time to Lose campaign, which calls on local and national government to do more to support the housing needs of people with MND. She has also participated in several clinical trials and donated her DNA and spinal fluid samples to MND research.
Rachel Maitland, MND Scotland’s chief executive officer, said: “I would like to thank Lucy for all her efforts to raise awareness of motor neurone disease and for the incredible amount she has raised to help others with MND and to find a cure. Lucy truly deserves this honour for everything she has done in the face of a devastating diagnosis.”