A group of extraordinary individuals in the United Kingdom are striving to make a difference in the fight against muscular dystrophy this month.
In Oxford, England, one group of men are in involved in efforts to ensure that 5,000 runners are able to race safely through the town streets each May in the Town and Gown fundraiser. The race was started nearly thirty years ago by a father in support of his muscular dystrophy-afflicted son. Colin Holt, 51, leads a company team that puts up barriers, cones, and signs the morning of the race to halt traffic and allow racers to navigate the route.
Although unable to run the race himself, Mr. Holt does all he can to help the effort, saying, “it’s a great cause to be involved with.” Twenty workers from his company that help set up in the early hours of the morning also run the ten kilometer race. Proceeds go to fund research seeking to find a cure for muscular dystrophy; it is the most successful event in the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign’s fifty-year history.
Meanwhile, in Penrith, Janet O’Connor will walk eighty four miles without sleep to raise money to help fight the disease. Her son, Michael, is afflicted with muscular dystrophy, and inspired her to take on the challenge of walking the entire Hadrian Wall without resting. “There’s quite a lot of research going on to find a cure for this muscle wasting condition,” she said. “I just want to try and do something before Michael gets worse or even dies.”
She will not be alone; Janet will be joined by her daughter, her best friends, and some of Janet’s colleagues. Their act runs in a tradition of O’Connor feats to raise money for a cure, as husband Gary cycled coast-to-coast last year.
Such inspiring acts of individual self-sacrifice and courage speak to an ever-present need for muscular dystrophy research money. As Janet said, “because muscular dystrophy is such a rare condition, it doesn’t tend to get that much publicity”. We are thankful that individuals such as these are willing to carry the banner to raise both money and awareness for the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign.
Have you taken part in any particularly powerful or touching events to support awareness about a cause dear to your heart? Tell us about it!