Five year old Leicestershire boy Rhys is getting excited about firing the gun which will start the third Town and Gown 10k run in Leicester, on Sunday 17 March.
Rhys has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which causes muscles to weaken over time. His father, Graham, who is registered to run said: “We are proud that Rhys has been chosen by Muscular DystrophyUK to be the race starter on the day. As a family we are all really looking forward to this event and can’t wait to see as many people as possible there.
“He is a determined and inquisitive little boy who always manages to do things in his own way. He loves his racing cars, dinosaurs and building Lego. We were given the devastating diagnosis just after his second birthday, but right now Rhys is just like any other cheeky five year old. Currently there is no cure, but Rhys is fantastic at just getting on with life, unaware of the challenges ahead.”
Duchenne muscular dystrophy starts in childhood and may be noticed when a child has difficulty standing up, climbing or running. It is a genetic condition and can be inherited. It usually affects only boys, although girls may carry the Duchenne gene. Boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy should have regular check-ups and physiotherapy from childhood. They are likely to need increasing help and treatments from about the age of 9 years.
Graham said: “After receiving this news we felt absolutely helpless. But fundraising has allowed us to channel our energies into something positive and into what is an otherwise uncertain future for him.”
The family set up their family fund, Together for Rhys, to raise awareness and raise money for Muscular Dystrophy UK’s Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund.
Leicester Town and Gown is the newest 10k in a series entirely organised by Muscular DystrophyUK. It includes already very popular runs in Oxford and Cambridge. Known as the ‘Runners Run’ the routes are through closed streets, past universities, rivers and parks and many of the cities’ historic civic buildings.
The charity has a close affinity with Leicester, with strong support from several local family funds and the local community. Twenty five advocacy cases were recorded from the East Midlands in the last 12 months.
It’s also on the University of Leicester campus where the Muscular Dystrophy UK Honorary Life President, the late Lord Richard Attenborough, spent his childhood and school years.
It is chip-timed, marshalled throughout and people are rewarded with a medal and a goody bag at the end. Last year a massive 8000 runners took part in this unique, fast growing series resulting in a total income of £265,740.00.
Date: Sunday March 17 2019
Event Village: Charles Wilson Sports Hall, University of Leicester, LE1 7RH
Start/Finish: Victoria Park, next to the University entrance.
Timings: 10 am start
Are you inspired to join Rhys and his family ? Then why not sign up here