ASK Lucy Lintott what a typical day in her life looks like at the moment and she rhymes off her favourite four passions.
“Food, taking my dog Zeus for a walk, going to the gym and seeing friends,” she says, promptly.
“That’s mainly what I do with my time. Oh yeah, and speaking to my dad on the phone. He keeps calling me up and asking to speak to the Scotswoman of the Year.”
She rolls her eyes.
“Which is obviously hilarious.”
Lucy was crowned Evening Times Scotswoman of the Year 2018 last month following her inspirational work raising awareness of Motor Neurone Disease.
The 24-year-old, who was diagnosed when she was just 19, is the youngest person in Scotland with MND.
There is no cure yet for this rapidly progressing illness which stops signals from the brain reaching the muscles, meaning sufferers may lose the ability to walk, talk, eat or breathe unaided.
Since the devastating diagnosis, Lucy has opened up her life to help others, raising more than £183,000 and winning the hearts of politicians, celebrities and the general public along the way.
At the glittering SWOTY dinner in Glasgow’s Grand Central Hotel, Lucy brought the house down with a funny and moving speech about what it is really like to live with MND.
“It ****ing sucks,” she told the 200 women invited along to the event. “I like a challenge – seems I got the hardest one of all. But I’m more stubborn than MND – five years on, I’m still here.”
Three weeks later, and Lucy says she is still recovering from the excitement of the night, which also saw Paralympic, World, Commonwealth and European medalwinning sprinter Maria Lyle crowned Young Scotswoman of the Year.
“Hearing my name called out as the winner was very surreal,” she says. “I hadn’t prepared a speech, because it just seemed too big. I didn’t think I could possibly win. But it was an absolute honour.
“The whole night was incredible, I loved meeting so many powerful women.
“Even now I can’t believe it. I feel very humble and honoured.”
Lucy has written a blog about her diagnosis and life with MND.
“After being diagnosed, I searched the internet for answers, and I soon realised that no-one of my age or even a similar age, had shared their stories,” she explains.
“So I started writing. I soon realised that it was helping me deal with all my thoughts and feelings.”
It has not been an easy road, she admits, and there have been many ‘turning points’ for her over the last five years.
“Since being diagnosed I’ve thrown myself into everything, mostly because I’ve wanted to and I’ve loved every moment of it but also because I was hiding from accepting the new path I was on,” she wrote in her blog last year.
“That’s the path where I have MND, where my situation won’t get any better unless a miracle happens. I’ll never stop hoping for the day a cure is found. It’s hope, and dreaming of a future free from MND, that keeps me sane.”
Lucy grew up in Morayshire with her parents Lydia and Robert and brother and sister Laura and Ross. She moved in to her own flat last year.
“I love it so much,” she smiles. “It feels as if I’ve got my independence back and I can be myself again. It also means my parents can get their independence back – and just be parents again.
“I absolutely love my parents. They’ve spent the last five years taking care of me. My mum used to take care of me all by herself, but it now takes the equivalent of three people to do what she used to do.
“But when I moved into my flat, something clicked in me and everything changed. I had a future and for the first time in years, I was looking forward.”
She laughs: “Every morning I wake up excited, especially on a Monday. I must be one of the few people who love Mondays.”
On stage at SWOTY, Lucy – never one to miss an opportunity and always very aware of her audience – took the chance to plug MND Scotland’s Ladies Who Lunch fundraiser in November.
“It’s at Oran Mor in Glasgow on November 3, and it will be great,” she says. “Being named SWOTY will help me raise awareness of the charity, who have been a big help to me and my family. Having the support of the Evening Times behind me is incredible too.”
She adds with a laugh: “Although I don’t really know what to do as ‘SWOTY’. I wish it came with a user manual or a rule book…”
The Scotswoman of the Year dinner was the latest in a long line of events Lucy supported throughout February and March and she says she is glad to be back at home in Morayshire “for a rest”.
“I’m glad I can now take a wee break at home, because I was away a lot at the start of the year,” she says. It is unlikely she will be out of action for long, however.
“Oh yes, there’s lots to do,” she nods, with a smile. “I want to get planning things.”
To read more of Lucy’s story, visit lucysfight.com or follow her on social media. To find out how you can support MND Scotland visit mndscotland.org.uk
Tomorrow: The first ever Young Scotswoman of the Year, Maria Lyle, talks about training, mental health and why winning the award means the world to her.