JK Rowling has donated £15million towards research in to multiple sclerosis after it claimed the life of her mother.
The Harry Potter author has poured a chunk of her personal wealth in to a new specialist MS centre at Edinburgh University named after mum Anne who died before she published her blockbuster series.
Anne Rowling died from MS at the age of 45 when JK Rowling was a teenager having an “enormous impact” on her life.
JK, real name Joanne, has previously told of her regret that she never told her mother she was working on the first Potter book which she started six months before her death. She went on to become the world’s first billionaire author.
The Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic was set up following a previous donation from Ms Rowling in 2010.
JK Rowling said: “When the Anne Rowling Clinic was first founded, none of us could have predicted the incredible progress that would be made in the field of regenerative neurology, with the clinic leading the charge.
“I am delighted to now support the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic into a new phase of discovery and achievement as it realises its ambition to create a legacy of better outcomes for generations of people with MS and non-MS neurodegenerative diseases.
“It’s a matter of great pride for me that the clinic has combined these lofty ambitions with practical, on the ground support and care for people with MS, regardless of stage and type – I’ve heard at first-hand what a difference this support can make.
The neurological condition affects more than 100,000 people in the UK and most are diagnosed in their thirties, forties and fifties.
The £15.3 million investment will also be used to help create new facilities at the centre as well as funding new research in to treatments.
JK Rowling has previously described how her mother’s death impacted her.
“She always seemed very young,” she said.
“She was very fit, she was a non-smoker, non-drinker, and I say all of this because of course then for her to be diagnosed at 35 with an illness that would kill her was just the most enormous shock to us and everyone who knew her.”
“It was dealing with the daily reality of somebody who’s starting not to be able to walk as well as they had, and for such an active person that was a real privation.”
Professor Siddharthan Chandran, director of the clinic, said: “Our research is shaped by listening to, and involving, individuals who are living with these tough conditions.
“The Anne Rowling Clinic’s vision is to offer everyone with MS or other neurodegenerative diseases, such as MND, the opportunity to participate in a suite of clinical studies and trials.
“This incredibly far-sighted and generous donation will unlock the potential of personalised medicine for people with MS in Scotland and further afield.”
Ms Rowling’s series about a wizard schoolboy has won multiple awards and sold more than 500 million copies, becoming the best-selling book series in history.