Campaigner who raised over €600k for motor neurone research dies aged 55

Campaigner who raised over €600k for motor neurone research dies aged 55

A priest who raised awareness for motor neurone disease following his own diagnosis has passed away.

Fr Tony Coote died yesterday after being diagnosed with motor neuron disease in February 2018. He was 55.

"Tony showed all of us how strength can be witnessed even in the face of human weakness. His courage leaves all of us more humble," said Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.

Fr Coote was the administrator of Mount Merrion and Kilmacud parishes in south Co Dublin.

He raised funds for research into the condition, including a 550km walk from Letterkenny, Co Donegal to Ballydehob, Co Cork last year.

He helped raise €600,000 for motor neurone research and his mammoth walk was captured in an RTÉ documentary.

"From the moment he was diagnosed, Father Tony Coote not only bore his illness with tremendous dignity, he also became a tireless advocate for everyone living with MND," said CEO of the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association Roisin Duffy.

"His decision to travel 550 kilometres from Donegal to Cork last year was testament to his resilience and determination. The €600,000 he raised is already making a real impact on Ireland’s MND community.

"To Father Tony’s family and wide circle of friends, we at the IMNDA offer our deepest sympathies at this difficult time. We pledge to honour his memory, and continue to support his vision for a world free of MND."

A fundraising 5km walk will take place in Dublin's Phoenix Park on September 14 inspired by Fr Coote's charity walk.

Fr Coote's memoir, Live While You Can, was published in recent months.

He was conferred with an honorary degree at UCD in December last.


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