Trinity have announced the creation of a new position, the Fr. Tony Coote Assistant Professor in Motor Neuron Disease Research, in memorial of the Dublin priest who raised over €600,000 for Motor Neuron Disease (NMD) research.
Trinity have announced that the first person to hold the position will be Dr Bahman Nassereloslami.
Fr. Tony Coote was diagnosed with MND by Professor Orla Hardiman, Professor of Neurology at Trinity in March 2018, and passed away on 28 August 2019. His funeral was held yesterday.
Coote dedicated the last year of his life to raising money for research into his disease, stating: “unless there’s research, there will be no hope for people in the future”
Fr. Coote was the administrator of Mount Merrion and Kilmacud parishes in south Co Dublin.
On 10 July 2018, Fr. Coote led a charity walk, joined by hundreds of supporters including Professor Hardiman and her team from Trinity. The walk took four weeks to complete, going from Letterkenny, Co Donegal to Ballydehob, Co Cork and raised over €250,000 for MND research at Trinity.
A documentary about Coote, “Walking The Walk”, aired on RTE in December 2018.
Trinity’s MND research team have said that they are mourning his loss but added that “his name and legacy will live on” with the creation of the new professorship.
Professor Orla Hardiman, said: “Fr. Coote will be sadly missed. He touched so many lives in the short time that we knew him. His commitment to raise awareness about MND was because he understood that this is not an untreatable disease, but an underfunded one.
She added that “as we seek to find new treatments for this tragic condition, we will draw inspiration from his legacy, and redouble our efforts on behalf of everybody affected by MND”.
A fundraising 5km walk will take place in Dublin’s Phoenix Park on September 14 inspired by Fr. Coote’s charity walk.