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I’ve never run before, but I’m doing it in memory of my brother

Thomas Dewar is running the Great Manchester Run half marathon on Sunday 26 May in memory of his younger brother, William, who lived with Duchenne muscular dystrophy and died suddenly on 1 July 2023, aged 22.

Last summer, I was in the process of moving house in Stoke when I received the phone call saying that something was wrong. William had been found unresponsive and, despite the efforts of my mum and sister and the phenomenal Norfolk Air Ambulance crew, William did not survive. Now I’m running this half marathon for him – to raise money in his memory and help others living with muscular dystrophy. 

He never let anything put him off

I last saw my brother in April 2023, when I went home to Norwich to visit for Easter. William had just finished his degree and was excited to see how he’d done. He didn’t have a straightforward journey with his studying, but he was determined. He was very quick-witted, and always there with a reply. He loved museums and knew such a lot about loads of different things, from Mesoamerican artefacts to Japanese folklore. The British Museum, just around the corner from Great Ormond Street, was like his second home. He lived with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, but he never let anything put him off.

William attended Thorpe St Andrew School from 2012, and adaptations and reasonable adjustments meant that he was able to secure three A Levels, and he left in 2019 to go to university. He started studying for his degree at the University of Essex, completing his Sociology Foundation Year with a Distinction during the lockdowns of 2020. He transferred to the University of East Anglia (UEA) so that he could study from home and spent two years following a degree in Art History, Anthropology and Archaeology, finishing his final year with the Open University.

At the time of his death, William was working with Norfolk Social Services to finalise a care package to enable him to go onto campus at UEA to do a Masters in Japanese Studies. We found out on the day of his funeral that he had passed his degree with honours, something we announced during the ceremony.

No disability should pose a barrier to someone living a happy life

Muscular Dystrophy UK helped my brother throughout his school and university career – offering advice and support. When I decided to take on a fundraising challenge in his memory, it was a natural choice to raise funds for their work. No disability should pose a barrier to someone living a normal, healthy, and happy life, and the charity do so much to support people like William across the UK. I want to raise as much as I can to help Muscular Dystrophy UK so that they can continue to support families like mine, as well as fund ground breaking research into new treatments and hopefully one day, a cure.

I’m very determined as this means a lot to me

I know that running a half marathon will be both physically and mentally demanding. I’ve never run a day in my life apart from at school and even then, I always did my best to get out of any type of PE! I have started from scratch and been following a strict training regime, including weekly park runs. I’m very determined as this is something that means a lot to me. The support I’ve received has been phenomenal and I’m so grateful.

As well as raising money for charity, it’s also important to me to increase awareness of muscular dystrophy, in memory of my brother.

Follow Thomas’s journey at

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