Ryan and his Mum
Fourteen year old Ryan McLaughlin from Drumchapel, Glasgow, was interviewed by Victoria Derbyshire on Radio5Live yesterday morning. It was his Scots voice which first attracted my attention and then the subject. His aims are to ensure pregnant women and children are given vitamin D (the 'sunshine' vitamin) to prevent the disease, to raise awareness of the benefits of taking vitamin D and to have the RDA altered to a suitable dose.
Ryan's Mum suffers from multiple sclerosis and he admitted he'd missed quite a bit of school because he had to take his fair share, along with his Dad, of caring for her. "There's nothing that can be done for Mum now but something can be done to prevent anyone else getting MS. I'm back at school now because Mum's not too bad if she sticks to her routine," he told Ms Derbyshire.
This young lad's latest achievement is that he's been granted a Government summit to discuss his pleas. Nicola Sturgeon also agreed to the summit to raise awareness of the impact of vitamin D on MS. Many scientists believe this could prevent up to 80% of cases of MS, which currently has no cure and affects 12,500 Scots, more per head than anywhere in the world.
When asked on radio if he had considered how the vitamin would be administered, quick as a flash he said, "In milk for school children or in bread."
I'm sure all of us would like to see this debilitating disease conquered in Scotland. It does say quite a bit about the effectiveness of the MS lobby on governments though, when it takes a 14 old to break the deadlock between pro-campaigners and the Scientific Committee on Nutrition.
Well done Ryan and may I wish your campaign every success. You'll never be short of work when you leave school - the lobbying firms will be queueing at your door.