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Friends and colleagues take on challenge to support ‘A Wish for Eben’

On Saturday 6 July, Anna Hobbs and 11 of her colleagues took on Pedal Paddle Peak – The Lake District, which involves a 30-mile cycle, two-mile canoe paddle and climbing to the peak of Helvellyn mountain. The group did the challenge in support of their friend and colleague, Helen, whose son Eben lives with Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy. Anna explains why she signed up for the challenge.

A boy sitting in a sofa with an orange MDUK t-shirt on

Helen and I met at work over seven years ago and have become close friends. We’ve been through a lot together, including her journey with Eben’s diagnosis, which started shortly after birth when he was immediately under the care of physios, neurologists and other NHS teams.

I wanted to do something to help

I remember meeting Eben when he was just a few days old and while the family knew something was wrong, it took over two years to get the diagnosis. Eben, who is now five, was diagnosed with Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy (UCMD), a rare muscle weakening condition, when he was two and a half years old. Since then, I decided I wanted to do as much as I could to help. I did the Great North Run with Helen for Muscular Dystrophy UK in 2022 and when I saw this unique challenge, I knew I had to do it.

I was joined by 11 colleagues from Zenith for Pedal Paddle Peak – Katie Atherton, Alan Bastey, Elizabeth Bennett, Rachel Braithwaite, Katie Gant, Emma Harrison, Callum Horn, Sam Pickup, Laura Shackleton, Sean Skippen, and Olivia Unsworth. We set ourselves a target to raise £6,500 for Muscular Dystrophy UK to support the A Wish for Eben family fund, with 80% going towards research into Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy and 20% to help support Eben’s future welfare needs.

It wasn’t hard to get a team together. We’ve all worked with Helen at various points over the last few years and know about Eben’s condition. Some of us have done challenges for Muscular Dystrophy UK before and others are new to the charity, but we all want to support Helen, Eben and the rest of the family, as well as this great cause.

Two women smiling at the camera. One is in an MDUK vest.

Mum says thank you for the support

“It was a huge shock when Eben was diagnosed,” said Eben’s mum, Helen. “We’ve spent the last three years coming to terms with this as a family and adapting to what our ‘new’ life looks like. Eben’s condition means he’s unable to walk as UCMD affects his strength, so he uses a trike to get around at home and school, as well as having a power wheelchair for longer outings. We know that Eben is also likely to face respiratory issues, muscle contractures and scoliosis later in life. Sadly, there is no cure for the condition but the promising research that is being done gives us hope.

“I’m so grateful to Anna and the rest of the team for taking on this Pedal Paddle Peak challenge. Support like this not only helps Eben and us as a family, but also the thousands of others across the UK who are living with a muscle wasting condition.”

To support ‘Team Zenith’ visit

Snowdon Pedal Paddle Peak

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Lake District Pedal Paddle Peak

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