Wednesday 4 November 2009

Ryan McLaughlin - The One Man 'Halt MS' Campaigner

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.


Sue said...

It would be interesting to find out whether people in mediterranean countries like Spain have less MS. I must try and find some figures... that would prove without doubt that Vitamin D would be beneficial!

Malc said...


They do. Statistically Scotland is the highest per capita in the world. Scandinavian countries are next - and Canada and the US are high too. Yet South America has virtually no cases.

They've done the science. It's now whether there is the political will to support such a move.

Anonymous said...

It fair tugs at your heartstrings when you hear about a lad like Ryan, and just how committed he is to his cause. And all at 14. I bet his parents are proud and glad that he's their son.

Let's be thankful for young men like Ryan, and grateful too, that we have a government that listens to experts instead of sacking them, and a Cabinet Secretary for Health that acts.

Bravo Ryan. I wish you every success. I wish your mum good health too. As Subrosa says, you're the kind of guy that will never lack for work. I'd give you a job in a second.

Allan said...


Scotland has the highest incidence per head of population in the world, the North West territories of Canada also has a high proportion as does areas of Australia. All areas with a large Scottish diaspora. Canada and Scotland are also areas which are dark and damp.

Vitimin D would be beneficial, but of even more benefit would be Vitimin D12, the vitimin manufactured with direct exposure to sunlight.

"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."

That quote is pretty much on the money Subrosa, really can't argue with that.

subrosa said...

Sue, John Swinney's (MSP) wife did a documentary for the BBC last year in which she proved Scotland has the worst percentage of MS in the world. She also suffers from the disease.

subrosa said...

Tris, according to the Herald today Ryan wants to go into medicine.

You can hear his 4 minute talk with Victoria on Radio5Live on iPlayer yesterday on their play again. He's right at the end 2hours 55 minutes into it.

subrosa said...

Thanks Allan. Quite a few months ago there was talk about vitamin D and I spoke to my doctor who poo poo-ed the idea of Scots taking it. She said the RDA's hadn't been set etc so I left it.

It won't benefit me much but it may benefits younger generations plus of course vitamin D12 which, according to the research I've read is also good for all Scots because we are starved of it for six months of the year.

Sue said...

If the studies have been and proven to be conclusive what on earth is stopping them?

Far too many "scientists" "poo poo" the idea of vitamins and natural medicines. (I am an advocate of homeopathy).

For such a terrible disease like MS surely it has to be worth considering?

subrosa said...

I can't quite remember the detail Sue, but the medical establishment kind of shoved it to the side if I remember.

At the time of discussion some months ago, when the evidence was provided, I asked my doctor if taking it would be of any benefit and she was rather scathing about the evidence. If I remember rightly she mentioned the RDA needed to be carefully assessed for each individual.

I never bothered to research how accurate her comment was as I'm past the age of contracting that awfully debilitating disease I think.

Rather a selfish attitude I know but most of us tend to research matters which affect us personally in some way I suppose.

Alan said...

Hi Every1

My name is Kirsten, Im Ryan's Mum. Thanks to all of you for your lovely comments, and yes im am so proud of Ryan mostley because he aint doing it for me, he is doing it for future generations of Scots.

You can find out alll about ryans campaign at

Best regards to u all

Kirsten x

subrosa said...

Hello Kirsten

How good of you to bother to get in touch. I'm going to make your comment into a wee post if you don't mind, then all my readers will see it.

Keep well.

Alan said...

I dont mind at all, sorry its took so long to get back to u, but had a rough couple of days xxx

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