Local Action Duchenne supporters prepare for Belfast City Marathon

A TEAM of 63 runners and walkers are raising the flag for Action Duchenne as they take part in the Belfast City Marathon on Monday, May 7 to raise funds for the charity that is dedicated to finding a cure for the severe muscle wasting condition Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD).

The idea started after Phil Millar, who is a close friend of Ballymena couple Andrew and Yvette McClean, encouraged them to take part in the marathon whilst entertaining in their back garden.

Andrew and Yvette’s three-and-a-half-year-old son Ethan suffers from DMD.

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Since that time Andrew and Yvette have rallied other family members, other parents, and friends of Duchenne boys, including Roy and Janet Bailie, Noel Barr and Sean McKinney to put on their running shoes or help encourage others to join Andrew and Yvette in their crusade for a DMD cure.

Gary and Beverly Stevenson, also parents, have helped to recruit a further 12 runners to the cause.

Andrew and Yvette, who have been busy sorting out the registration process and arranging running tops for everyone, said: “Never did we imagine that an evening of friendly banter with friends would spiral into making history for Action Duchenne. We’re truly overwhelmed by the support of everyone wishing to take part in the marathon and thank them from the bottom of our hearts.

“We’re really looking forward to making our little boy proud of us and raising as much money as we can to make a real difference to those living with Duchenne.”

The Action Duchenne team will join people from all over the world as they run a full marathon, a leg of the relay or even a sponsored 9 or 26 mile walk during the famous, annual event which celebrates its 31st year this May and had over 20,000 entrants in 2011.

Afterwards, they are meeting up to mull over the day’s events, enjoy a buffet and a well-earned drink at the Malone Lodge Hotel in Belfast who have kindly sponsored a function room for the evening.

Nick Caitlin, Head of Research for Action Duchenne, added: “We are grateful to all the families taking part in this year’s Belfast Marathon. We really are seeing history in the making for Action Duchenne as an incredible 63 participants rally round and support our charity.

“Their active involvement is critical to the success of our campaign and brings us closer to our goal of getting the treatment and potential cure that everyone living with Duchenne deserves. A big thank you to all of you!”

If you would like to sponsor the event, please text ACTION BELFAST (£amount) to 70555 to pledge a £3, £5 or £10 donation. Texts cost £5 plus network charge. Action Duchenne receives 100% of your donation. Please obtain bill payers permission. Charity No 1101971.

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is a severe muscle wasting disease that effects mostly males and is 100 per cent fatal. Action Duchenne aims to find treatments or a cure for Duchenne by funding research and clinical trials.

The charity also campaigns to make sure that everyone has access to the best standard of medical care, providing up to date support to families living with Duchenne and also to runs a specialist education programmes (one of which received National Lottery Award in 2011).

Action Duchenne is the only national UK charity focused on raising awareness and funding for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.