Local Heroes Walk 13 Miles Around Loch Leven to Support Colleague Battling Motor Neurone Disease

27 Oct 2023

A group of 31 people have completed a 13-mile journey around the scenic Loch Leven to support a colleague battling Motor Neurone Disease (MND). The event, organised by gas network company SGN’s Scotland North region, was dedicated to rallying behind their friend and colleague, Gary McKenzie, and his family, as they face the life-altering challenges of MND.

Gary, one of our dedicated engineers based in Dunfermline depot for 18 years, received his devastating diagnosis just before Christmas last year. MND is a rare and debilitating condition affecting the brain and nerves, causing progressive weakness with no known cure. It is likely that Gary will be wheelchair bound within a year meaning his home in Cowdenbeath, where he lives with his partner Nicola and their two young children, requires extensive modifications. This includes a single level living extension, a bathroom, and a bedroom as he won’t be able to get up the stairs.

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Gary and his family with the charity walkers

Gary and his family (front) with the army of fundraisers

(Gary and his family (front) with the army of fundraisers)


The estimated cost for this essential home adaptation is £50,000. Fife Health and Social Care Partnership has generously pledged £25,000 towards the renovation. However, the McKenzie family still requires an additional £25,000 to begin the work required for Gary to live comfortably at home.

To bridge this financial gap, the family launched a GoFundMe campaign, appealing for support from the community, friends, and well-wishers.

SGN Team Manager Emma Kelly, who organised the challenging 13-mile walk, explained why it was important to  get involved: “I have worked with Gary for many years, and we have become close so we I wanted to do something different to show we’re all behind him.”

Those who are close to Gary came together for the fundraiser, including SGN employees, friends, family members and even a furry companion. SGN’s kind-hearted team ensured smooth logistics, providing transportation and co-ordinating a lunch stop at Baynes in Kinross who provided a great spread. The team finished off at The Green Hotel’s Jocks Bar for some well-deserved refreshments and burgers.

After hearing the many ways in which his friends and family have been helping to fundraise, Gary said: “I’m grateful to work for a company like SGN who have supported me and my family during this difficult time. I’d like to say a huge thanks to everyone who took part in the walk.”

In total the walking team raised an impressive £1,650 in sponsorship, helping Gary’s family get closer to their £25,000 goal.

Donations, whether big or small, can be made at https://www.gofundme.com/f/home-adaption-for-single-level-living.