New academic post at TCD to be named after Fr Tony Coote

Motor neuron disease sufferer helped raise almost €700,000 in walk from Donegal to Cork

The late Fr Tony Coote helped raise almost €700,000 for Motor Neurone Disease research before he died. Photograph: Dave Meehan/ The Irish Times

The late Fr Tony Coote helped raise almost €700,000 for Motor Neurone Disease research before he died. Photograph: Dave Meehan/ The Irish Times

 

Trinity College Dublin has announced the creation of a new Fr Tony Coote Assistant Professor in Motor Neuron Disease Research.

In a statement, the university said “the Motor Neuron Disease team at Trinity College Dublin mourns the death of Fr Tony Coote but his name and legacy will live on with the appointment of Dr Bahman Nassereloslami as the Tony Coote Assistant Professor in Motor Neuron Disease (MND)”.

Dr Nassereloslami has already made breakthrough discoveries in brain wave signalling in MND, and his work will help to drive the quest for new and more effective treatments,” the statement said.

Fr Coote was diagnosed with MND by Professor Orla Hardiman, Professor of Neurology at Trinity College in March 2018 and he died on August 28th last.

Despite his illness, the priest decided to raise funds for MND research and care. On July 10th last year he and hundreds of supporters, including Prof Hardiman and her team, set off on the first of 28 stages walking from Letterkenny, Co Donegal to Ballydehob, Co Cork.

The charity walk took four weeks to complete and raised over € 250,000 for MND research at Trinity College. Altogether it has been estimated that the 550-kilometre walk raised almost €700,000 for MND research and to provide support for those struck down by the condition.

A documentary about the journey, Walking The Walk, was broadcast on RTÉ last December.

Prof 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.

“And 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.”