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News > RGS Alumni News > All Roads Lead To Rome For OE Olivia

All Roads Lead To Rome For OE Olivia

It was an absolute pleasure to hear from OE Olivia Middleton (2006-22) who is undertaking the mammoth “All Roads Lead To Rome Challenge” this month.

Through this incredible 1700 mile, nine day, cycling journey, starting at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh and finishing at the Stadio Olymipco in Rome Olivia is raising awareness and funds for the fantastic work done by the “My Name’s Doddie'5” Foundation. The Foundation is committed to helping improve the lives of those affected by Motor Neuron Disease, a cause close to Olivia’s heart since she developed a personal connection with the disease.

Around 1100 people are diagnosed with MND every year in the UK. Typically, a third of those individuals die within one year of diagnosis and more than half within two years. Throughout this period, quality of life is progressively compromised, and as of today, there is still no cure.

Olivia tells us “The My Name’5 Doddie Foundation was founded by former Scotland rugby legend and British and Irish Lion, Doddie Weir, OBE. Doddie received his diagnosis in 2016 and sadly lost his battle to MND in November 2022. Doddie campaigned tirelessly throughout this period to do what he could for the MND community, all the while beating the odds of the illness and demonstrating what can only be described as an entirely inspiring level of resilience. Since losing Doddie, the foundation, much like its founder, has remained wholeheartedly resilient, staying committed to the work that they do to support the MND community. The My Name’5 Doddie Foundation bases its strategic plan on five main pillars, two of which, in particular, I feel resonate with the RGS ethos: support and love, fun and hope.”

Here at RGS, Olivia studied A levels in History (A*) Religious Studies (A*) Politics (A*) EPQ (A*) and was involved in Rowing and Debating. She is now studying Law at the University of Edinburgh.

Speaking about how her time at RGS prepared her for this challenge, Olivia says, “RGS is not only a school but also a family. A place I not only learned but somewhere that shaped me as an individual through the unwavering support of me and my peers. RGS was a fun place to be and always will be. It is a result of this support that leads me to consider RGS to be somewhere that gave me hope—hope in not only what I could perhaps become or achieve one day, but hope in moments that were a personal challenge to myself. RGS is somewhere that I love and that will always hold a special place in my heart. I think that among the RGS peers, old and new, we all share a love for each other created by our shared values that stem from our experience at such an amazing place. It is because of RGS that I have developed the resilience that I require to take on such a challenge.”

Expressing her feelings about her team and the challenge ahead, Olivia says “There’s no doubt the challenge we are taking on is huge, but the team have such a great sense of camaraderie that even before leaving I know we will all support each other on the good and bad days, which is bound to make it that much easier! I feel very lucky to be taking on the challenge with both my father, Keith Middleton, and my partner, Ben Weir, with me; It feels like a particularly special experience to be sharing with them both. While I am certainly excited to set off from Murrayfield and get going with the challenge, there are still a few healthy nerves but the motivation is absolutely there to push through and do what I can for Doddie and the MND community.” 

Everyone here at RGS wishes Olivia the very best for the challenge which started on the 29 February.  If anyone is keen to find out more they can follow the progress of the team on Instagram, @theinternationalroamingbundle, Facebook, @theinternationalroamingbundle and online here. You can find out more about the “My Name’5 Doddie” Foundation on their website.

Good luck and Well Done Olivia! We look forward to following the progress of the team.

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