|2 May 2023
We recently heard from Abigail Newhall, who attended the school from 2007 until moving out of the area in 2012. She was lucky enough to secure a place in the London Marathon through Muscular Dystrophy UK, a charity that supports and raises awareness of muscle wastage conditions, one of which her family is very familiar with.
In October 2020, my wonderful Dad, Andy, was diagnosed with FSHD Muscular Dystrophy. This is a genetic disease that causes the muscles in your face, shoulders, knees and back to waste away - there isn’t currently a cure, but he has taken this in his stride and I am forever proud to be his daughter, even if he tells the worst dad jokes known to human kind.
Due to the disease being genetic, there was a 50% chance that my brother Cris (OH 2009-12) and I would have it too, and in April 2022, after almost two years of waiting, we both got tested for the gene.
My results came back clear, but Cris’s didn’t, and he has inherited the FSHD gene from my dad. The way he has dealt with it is admirable, and although I’ll never admit it, I am so proud of him. I don’t know many other 21 year olds who could be as mature and pragmatic as he is.
There’s no way to determine how fast the disease will progress, nor the specific support that either of them might need in the future. Muscular Dystrophy UK have support available for both those who have muscle wastage conditions and their families, as well as numerous resources to inform everyone about the huge variety of conditions they help with.
The last two years have been a rollercoaster for my family, and if I can help raise money for a charity they might need in the future, then I want to do everything in my power to do that.
I’m running this for my family, for everyone who’s been by our side for the last two years, and the 110,000 other people in the UK who live with muscular dystrophy on a daily basis.
Abbie completed the marathon in a time of 6 hours and 18 minutes and has had her place confirmed for next year, running for the same charity but this time with her brother, Cris.
Congratulations Abbie and we wish you well in raising money for such a worthwhile cause.
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