You are enough. That was the powerful message Scotland’s youngest Motor Neurone Disease patient Lucy Lintott delivered to pupils at Larbert High School at three assemblies organised to highlight a new education and fundraising partnership with Strathcarron Hospice.
The 24-year-old from Elgin was invited to the school by rector Jon Reid after he was “completely blown away” by her courageous speech at the Fire Up Scotland event held in Glasgow last year.
Strathcarron Hospice provides care and support to over 1400 people with incurable illnesses like Lucy’s at a time when both they and their family need it.
Larbert High School wants to raise £12,900 to ‘pay for a day’ to keep the charity’s vital services running.
Lucy revealed she was diagnosed with MND five years ago.
“I was just 19 when my world came crashing down,” she said. I was in a hospital room with my dad in Glasgow when a doctor walked in and told me I had it. My eyes filled with tears and the rest is a blur.”
Since then however, despite all the challenges she has faced and continues to face as a result of her deteriorating health, Lucy has achieved many extraordinary things.
She has raised more than £180,000 for MND Scotland and has ticked 32 experiences off her 45-item bucket list including getting a tattoo, flying a helicopter and a plane and being a zookeeper for the day.
She also contributes regularly to her online blog, ‘Lucy’s Fight’ in which she shares her moving story with half a million people and has starred in the BBC documentary, ‘MND and 22 year old me’.
“Keeping myself busy with fundraising and sharing my story has allowed me to be mature enough to cope with my own path,” Lucy explained.
“It is true that when you believe in yourself anything and everything is possible,”
In the past year Lucy has kept her love of travelling alive by visiting Zante, Poland and Dubai, has moved in to her own flat, picked up two awards and has also fallen in love.
One of the most poignant things on Lucy’s bucket list is to make a difference to a stranger’s life as many times as possible.
“When you walk through a door always look behind you,” she said.
It might be someone’s granny or someone with a pram or a wheelchair and if not it is still always nice for someone to walk through a door that someone else has opened for them.”
Speaking directly to pupils, Lucy continued: “I want you to know something important. You are enough. If I can know that I am enough even with all my issues I hope you hear me when I say you are enough.”
Other speakers at the assemblies were biology teacher, Dr Eilidh Wilkie, who shared her previous experience as a research scientist studying MND at the Euan MacDonald Centre in Edinburgh and school charity fundraiser and PE teacher Kirsty Macgowan, who said that although £12,900 was “a substantial amount of money” to raise she believed that between the 2000 staff and pupils at the school it was “definitely achievable.”
Sixth year pupils Erin McQuade and Amy Garai also shared their experiences on stage of volunteering at Strathcarron as part of their Youth and Philanthropy Initative (YPI) work.
School captains David Stainbank and Ellie Wilson took part in the assemblies too, interviewing Lucy and her fellow speakers.
Strathcarron fundraising manager Jackie Johnston said the hospice’s school co-ordinator Helen Bruce had been working with the pupils at Larbert High School.
She added: “Helen spent her whole working life in education and is an incredibly inspirational leader for young people, having directly experienced the care given to her husband prior to him passing away.
“She has first-hand experience of the hospice and promised her husband she would continue fundraising after his death. This she has done with professionalism, passion and a genuine love of working with young people.
“We are delighted to work with Larbert High School and will support them to achieve their fundraising target.”
Jackie added: “Many people think hospices care for people with terminal cancer only but in reality 26 per cent of all patients cared for have a non-malignant illness and may have, for example, heart failure or a neurological life limiting condition such as MS or MND.”
Rector Jon Reid said: “I would like to thank all our speakers especially Lucy Lintott for her inspirational talk at our special assemblies and for teaching us that small acts of kindness really do go a long way and can change people’s mindsets.”