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New books give north-east man's personal account of living with MND

By Kyle Ritchie

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A north-east man living with motor neurone disease has published two new books outlining his personal experience since being diagnosed with the condition.

Colin Murray's aim with the new publications is to provide encouragement to other people who are dealing with a terminal illness.

Colin (60) has released both of them under the Life Matters title.

One has the subtitle A Pastor Embracing Life in the Face of a Motor Neurone Diagnosis and the other is Confronting the Challenges of Our Time.

Colin Murray has published two new books.
Colin Murray has published two new books.

Colin, who lives at Portsoy's Schoolhendry Street, said: "I've published two new books – one is my personal experience dealing with my motor neurone disease diagnosis and the other is a collection of articles I have written over the years.

"They cover everything in life including hope, joy, control, sadness and grief.

"I was diagnosed with MND in March last year, which is about 18 months ago, but I had the symptoms for about a year before that.

"I was starting to drag my left foot a bit but there was no pain, I just thought it was maybe a problem with my tendon or muscle and I wasn't really concerned about it.

"At the same time my fingers were starting to lose their grip as well but I didn't link my hands with my foot and I thought they were two separate issues.

"With my hands I thought it was maybe carpal tunnel or something like that.

"I then had a few falls and went to the doctors but I still wasn't concerned. The doctor put me to physiotherapy and then eventually after 10 months he sent me to Aberdeen for a MRI scan and some other tests and then I was diagnosed with MND.

"When the doctor told me that you could have knocked me over with a feather.

"In the back of mind I thought I maybe had Parkinson's or multiple sclerosis but MND is more brutal than those and I didn't expect it."

Colin was aware of motor neurone disease after sport stars Doddie Weir, Fernando Ricksen and Rob Burrow were diagnosed with it.

Being in his late 50s Colin had one eye on retirement but was then hit with his own shocking diagnosis.

He added: "It was a bombshell the same as it would be for anyone.

"Living with it what I have to do now is deal with the reality of my situation, my condition which will more than likely get worse which can be quite harrowing.

"I believe that the way I live my life and the example I am to others is my greatest sermon.

"It's easy to be full of faith when we are in good health but now that it's declining this is the big challenge for me to deal with."

Colin had a painting and decorating business for about 36 years and founded the Portsoy Community Church with Huntly's Dave Henderson about 12 years ago. He still leads the church but no longer preaches as his voice is starting to falter.

He was also the Banffshire Journal's faith writer for five years and has been chaplain at Keith Football Club.

Publishing his new books has helped him to deal with living with the disease.

He said: "There is something cathartic about it but it is more to offer encouragement to other people that have a terminal illness, either personally or maybe a family member is dealing with it.

"This is the third book I have published and I am hoping to release my fourth by the end of the year. My first book – Papering Over the Cracks – was released in 2010.

"My new books chart my journey dealing with MND, what I have learned, my hopes for the future, regrets and leaving a legacy."

In the face of adversity Colin is determined to keep a positive outlook on life.

He added: "Regardless of your health situation you've got to have a sense of purpose and hope. I like to set goals and things to look forward to.

"I'm more appreciative of my family and other people now and to make the most of life.

"I'm aware that my time may be limited and my life might be considerably shortened but its important always to have a sense of purpose and something to aim for. If you don't have that your mind can just play havoc."

Colin is supported by his brother, sister-in-law, nieces, nephew and partner.

His books can purchased on Amazon, through his publisher Troubador Publishing, Waterstones, other book retailers and local shops, cafés and churches along the north-east coast.

He said: "The proceeds from my book focusing on my journey dealing with the motor neurone diagnosis will go to the charity MND Scotland.

"Motor neurone disease is high profile now with Doddie Weir, Rob Burrow and others raising awareness.

"It is in the forefont of a lot of people's minds at the moment although it's a rare disease with only 1500 people having it in Scotland and 5000 in the UK.

"Every day is a blessing and I am enjoying life."

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