We are delighted to share the news that England and Arsenal midfielder, Jack Wilshere, has become a new ambassador for the charity today.
The football star has pledged to help us raise awareness of muscle-wasting conditions and issues facing our supporters, including barriers to accessing treatments for rare conditions.
To celebrate his new role, Jack met four young people affected by muscle-wasting conditions. He played football and had a picnic with the youngsters and their families at Sopwell House, in Hertfordshire.
We first met Jack when we arranged for him to surprise eight-year-old Muscular Dystrophy UK supporter and Arsenal fan, Archie Hill, at Archie’s home in February. Archie has Duchenne muscular dystrophy and he and his family have been campaigning with us for access to the drug, Translarna, which could help him. This pioneering treatment could allow children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy to stay walking for longer and delay the need for a wheelchair.
Speaking about becoming an ambassador for Muscular Dystrophy UK, Jack Wilshere said:
As a parent myself, I think about my own children and how it would feel to receive such life-changing news. Meeting Archie, Harry, Freya, and Auzair has been great – they are really inspiring young people. I can see the challenges that come with living with muscle-wasting conditions, and want to do all I can as ambassador for Muscular Dystrophy UK, to raise awareness of the charity’s work. I hope that one day in the future we are able to say there is a cure for children and adults living with these conditions.
Robert Meadowcroft, Chief Executive of Muscular Dystrophy UK, said:
We are delighted and honoured to have Jack on board. He has shown real compassion to the families he has met, and we have seen how youngsters quickly develop a connection with him. Although muscle-wasting conditions are rare and poorly understood, they have a profound impact on the lives of people who live with them. With Jack’s help, we will raise much greater awareness of why funds for research to develop treatments are so vital, as well as fast access to emerging treatments like Translarna.
Sue Barker, Muscular Dystrophy UK’s President said:
I am thrilled to welcome Jack Wilshere into his ambassador role. We are similar in that we have both pushed our bodies to the limit to have a career in sport, when young people with muscle-wasting conditions are struggling to do just the basic things in life. It is wonderful that Jack is able to give something back by supporting Muscular Dystrophy UK.