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News > OH News > Running for Muscular Dystrophy UK

Running for Muscular Dystrophy UK

Cris and Abbie Newhall participated in the London Marathon 2024
26 Apr 2024
OH News

Last year, Abigail Newhall (OH 2007-12) completed the London Marathon to raise money for Muscular Dystrophy UK.  The cause is important to Abbie and her family, as her Dad, Andy, was diagnosed with Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), a type of muscular dystrophy caused by genetic mutation in October 2020.  FSHD and all other types of muscular dystrophy cause various groups of muscles in the body to weaken and waste away.

Abigail and her younger brother Cris Newhall (OH 2009-12), started their education in the Junior School before moving out of the area in 2012.  Throughout their childhood, their dad, would often mysteriously fall, often from out of nowhere before he was diagnosed.

They found out about their dad’s diagnosis a couple months later, after he had taken some time to understand and accept the new reality of life he was going to have to lead.  After the initial shock had passed, they were presented with a choice whether to undergo genetic testing to see if they had inherited the mutated gene responsible for the condition – with it being genetic, it was a straight 50/50 shootout.  Abbie's results came back all clear, but unfortunately, Cris' didn’t.

It’s a funny feeling receiving news like that.  You’re not sure how to feel; on the one hand you worry for things in your future, and things that you love doing like sport, you don’t know how long you’ll be able to do them for, but on the other you feel you’re no different to when you didn’t know.

There’s no telling to what extent the condition will affect me in life – extreme or not, and while that’s the case I want to keep feeling positive about the future ahead. There’s no cure for the condition at the moment, but we’re hopeful that with ever-increasing funding and research, one day the breakthrough will come.

The strength my father has showed through this, coupled with his humour about the topic is something I will forever be proud and admiring of.

Cris

So to continue fundraising for the worthwhile charity, Cris decided to complete the London Marathon with his sister this year.

90% of FSHD patients have symptoms begin before 20, so being 21 and with sport forming a huge social part of my life, this is one of the things that concerned me most. Since I can remember, sport has been one of my biggest passions in life, watching or playing (albeit not very well). You name a sport and I’m there. I even got FOMO (fear of missing out) watching Abbie do the marathon last year, I think you have to be sport-obsessed for that to happen.

So, what better way to take on this massive challenge then raising money for a cause that will help mine and many others families in years to come. We really appreciate all your support, both over the last 3 years and now.

Cris

After the event, Abbie shared some photos from the day and told us how it went, which was slightly drier than the previous year:

 We both ran for Muscular Dystrophy UK, they support the 110,000 people in the UK with muscle wastage conditions, including our dad who has FSHD muscular dystrophy.  Unfortunately, there isn’t currently a cure. Cris carries the gene responsible for FSHD (facioscapulohumeral) but we don’t know yet how the condition might affect him, and in classic Hymers fashion, sport is a huge part of his life, so running the marathon was a brilliant challenge to take on. 

We were very lucky to have good weather to run in (after last year's downpour!) and the crowds were absolutely amazing.  We’ve raised £3,930 so far, which goes towards research, treatments and counselling, and our just giving page is still open for donations:

Cris and Abbie's fundraiser for Muscular Dystrophy UK

Abbie

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