THE FUNDS of a voluntary organisation set up by families who are affected by Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy have been boosted by an Arbroath lady’s efforts.
Maureen Douglas presented the Eileen McCallum Trust with a cheque for £3,450 on Wednesday.
Maureen is the human resources manager at Brechin firm Forster Roofing and she and her 15-year-old daughter, Shannon, a pupil at Arbroath Academy, recently cycled from Land’s End to John o’ Groats via Arran - a 1,000-mile marathon - to raise the profile of the disease which affects about 10 male children born in Scotland every year.
And their pedal power raised the substantial sum through sponsorship.
The stepson of David Pirie, one of Forster Roofing’s longest serving roof tilers/slaters, six-year-old Cole, was born with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
The family, which also includes David’s fiance, Charlene, and Cole’s three-year-old brother Liam, live in Montrose.
DMD is a progressive and fatal muscle-wasting disease. The disorder is caused by a mutation in the dystrophin gene, located in humans on the X chromosome.
Initial symptoms can be difficulty in walking between the ages of one and three and the inability to run or jump like their peers. The children face a life confined to a wheelchair from as young as eight.
In their teenage years, as their muscles weaken further, they lose the ability to do everyday tasks such as feeding themselves. Their heart and lungs are also affected and as a result they face a short life typically between 18 and 25 years.
The aim of the trust is to provide financial support to families affected by DMD to ensure their sons have the equipment and care services they require for an improved quality of life. Cole will directly receive a percentage of the monies raised.
Maureen and Shannon completed their cycle between Sunday, June 17, and Saturday, June 30. Over the 14 days they carried their own gear on touring bikes, cycling on average 70 miles per day and staying mostly in Youth Hostels.
Maureen explained that the inspiration to get mobile on two wheels came about during a family holiday in Caithness when they saw people biking up and down Berriedale Braes.
The cycles were purchased and once they had decided to undertake the sponsored event, mum and daughter commenced training. Maureen explained: “We worked away during evenings and at weekends but I feel it was still an accomplishment getting through it.”
One training outing took them from Arbroath to Dunkeld, where they camped overnight, round Loch Tay to Glen Lyon, where they camped again, then back to Arbroath. All their gear was carried in panniers.
Maureen is keen to undertake another long journey, but Shannon is not so sure.
Mum extended thanks to all their generous sponsors, including many in Arbroath.