Evan Howle and fiancée Abi Lunney, are preparing to take on the largest half-marathon in the world together this September. By doing the Great North Run for MDUK, they’re joining a #TeamOrange of over 175 among the 55,000 taking part on the day.
Evan had originally signed up to take on the Great North Run alone in support of Abi, who has limb girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD). But they decided to take on this challenge together; Evan will push Abi along the 13.1 mile route in her wheelchair.
Abi “I was diagnosed with LGMD in 2016. A few years on from my diagnosis, I’m now super passionate about raising awareness of disability through social media. It took me a long time to become comfortable with the thought of using a wheelchair due to how it was portrayed in the media. I didn’t think it was possible to be happy while needing a wheelchair, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.
My wheelchair enables me to travel with my partner and to be independent, something that I wouldn’t have been able to even consider otherwise. I want others to feel comfortable within themselves when using a mobility aid, which is part of the reason Evan and I decided that I’d take on the Great North Run with him, in my chair!”
Evan and Abi met through an accidental Facebook add and it wasn’t long before they realised how much they had in common. They’ve been together for two and a half years, and Evan recently ‘popped the question’ and asked Abi to marry him – she said yes!
Evan “Before meeting Abi I hadn’t really heard much about muscular dystrophy and what it was. Shortly after our first date, I reached out to MDUK to gain some more understanding about how Abi’s condition likely affects her on a day-to-day basis.
The charity was extremely helpful and sent me a wealth of information about the condition. I can’t wait to raise funds through the Great North Run so that more people can benefit from the services MDUK provides.”
Both Evan and Abi are passionate about fighting the stigma surrounding disability and taking on the Great North Run together is just another step in their incredible journey. Abi had considered attempting to walk across the finish line at the end of the race, but then changed her mind as she wanted to empower others in similar situations.
I had thought about pushing myself to walk across the finish line, as it’d look good for photos. However, I then decided against this, as I don’t want to give the impression that finishing on your feet is better than finishing using a wheelchair. Wheels are just as good and hopefully more people who require a mobility aid would want to take part if they saw someone else doing it… anything is possible!”
Evan and Abi have made an excellent start to their fundraising. They hope to raise at least £800 between them to help fund MDUK’s research and support services, so all those living with muscular dystrophy are able to live well. Good luck, both. We’re all behind you!
How to support
If you would like to support Evan and Abi’s fundraising, or to follow their Great North Run journey, please visit their JustGiving page.
To check out Abi’s personal blog, do follow her Instagram account at @lunneya.
How to get involved
If Evan and Abi’s story has inspired you to take on next year’s Great North Run with #TeamOrange, please do get in touch with Kiera Santry via email or over the phone at 0207 803 2877.