WeBuyBooks are raising money for Motor Neuron Disease (MND) with an auction of a very rare, first edition of The Hobbit!
After reading about Royd Tolkien, the great-grandson of Lord Of The Rings author JRR Tolkien, and his journey to raise money for Motor Neuron Disease, we felt pretty emotional. An article in the Sunday Express discussed Royd’s efforts to raise money for an MND research campaign in the name of his brother, Mike, who sadly died from the disease.
Our manager Ben Wadsworth and several other WeBuyBooks employees had been following the MND campaign for months and felt compelled to help! This is when Ben remembered the rare first edition of The Hobbit that we have in our book collection. He thought it only fitting that WeBuyBooks use Tolkien’s legacy to help fund his great-grandson's fight, so came up with the idea to auction the book and donate some of the proceeds to a charity for Motor Neurone Disease!
As book enthusiasts, having a first edition of a book that’s as legendary as The Hobbit in our midst is very precious! But we just about managed to keep our inner Gollum’s at bay and offer the book up for auction, in the name of such an important cause.
For anyone that doesn’t know, Motor Neurone Disease (MND) affects the nerves called motor neurones in the brain and spinal cord. These nerves tell your muscles what to do. With MND, the brain gradually loses its ability to reach your muscles, causing them to weaken, stiffen and waste away. This affects the way you walk, talk, eat and breathe and significantly shortens life expectancy.
Currently, there is no cure. But Prof Ammar Al-Chalabi, director of the MND Care and Research Centre at King’s College London, believes that MND is not an incurable, hopeless condition, but something that should be treatable! In fact, he says that UK neurologists are within touching distance of breakthroughs to make MND a condition patients can live with, but they lack the funding to accelerate their research.
He prepared figures for the different tasks needed to find a cure for MND, totalling about £50million over five years. Read more about these tasks in this article by the Express.
Upon finding out that MND could be treatable, Royd Tolkien began his journey to help cure the disease! Along with helping to spread awareness of MND with his new book detailing his bucket list adventure left to him by his late brother, he backed the Sunday Express campaign: Fund The Fight Against MND. This campaign called for £50million of Government funding or an MND Research Institute to coordinate research to find a cure for the rapidly progressing disease, which resulted in success last November!
We reached out to Royd, thanked him for his efforts towards MND and said we wanted to help! We told him how we planned to auction the book and began discussing how any funds raised might help the cause.
There are several amazing charities that aim to tackle MND, but one that stood out to us was the My Name’5 Doddie foundation. Founded by Rugby legend, Doddie Weir, who is suffering from MND himself. His organisation envisions a world that’s free of Motor Neurone Disease and are relentless in their quest to make it happen! This amazing charity is where we decided to donate the proceeds of The Hobbit first edition auction.
As well as raising money for an amazing cause with the auction of The Hobbit, we’ve ultimately helped bring two advocates of MND research, Royd and Doddie, together to raise even more awareness for the MND campaign! We think that’s something to be proud of and would like to give special thanks to Ben for coming up with the idea.
If you want to get involved in the auction of The Hobbit first edition, it will be auctioned at Bonhams in March. The Saleroom will host the auction online, where you can begin placing your bids when the catalogue is live - sometimes even before the auction date!
Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for an auction date! We’ll update this blog post as soon as a date gets released by Bonhams, so check back in here in the coming weeks for updates.
If you don’t want to bid on The Hobbit, but want to help, you can still raise money for Motor Neurone Disease research by donating to My Name’5 Doddie foundation.