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Dancer, 20, diagnosed with MND weeks before birthday calls it ‘death sentence’

A dancer who has competed for her country is now fighting motor neurone disease at just 20 years old.

Scot dancer extraordinaire Natalie Rushton, now 21, got the horror diagnosis just weeks before her birthday.

The illness is a degenerative condition which severs the link between the brain and the muscles.

Motor neurone disease can cause sufferers to lose their ability to move, speak, eat and even breathe without help.

Natalie was so ashamed about the news she didn't tell anyone for weeks, Glasgow Live reports.

A dancer since she was just two years of age, Natalie has competed for Scotland in competitions abroad.

She found out the terrible news after collapsing at work in 2019.

But due to the pandemic her diagnosis wasn't confirmed till months later.

Natalie has used her platform to urge the government to put millions more toward motor neurone disease research.

Together with rugby union legend Doddie Weir and hundreds of others, she has written a personal letter to Boris Johnson asking for £50m over five years.

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It will be delivered to the prime minister on Tuesday, Glasgow Live reported.

The letter says "MND is a death sentence", but "research has now reached a point where a cure or life-saving treatments can be found".

It continues: "The current piecemeal and protracted approach of funding individual projects will not deliver the life-saving treatments we need.

"We urgently appeal for action and investment now."

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Natalie added: “This is important to me as I am only 21 years old and living with this deadly disease.

"Having this disease has changed my life in many ways. One of the most mentally changing things for me is that I was a dancer and now not able to do this.

"If there was a cure to make it completely disappear it would allow me to have my old life back and be a normal 21-year-old.

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“To the Prime Minister, please help us! This funding would allow us to fight the disease with hope that it won't kill us before a cure is found.”

The UK government currently spends less than £5m per year on targeted motor neurone disease research.

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