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Friday, 24 October 2014

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Ulverston family team in tough charity challenge

THE Smith family will push itself to the limit tomorrow in order to raise money for a cause that is all too close to its members’ hearts.

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CLOSE: Ulverstonian Curtis Smith, six, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, with brother Lewis, 14, who will be taking on the highest peaks in England, Scotland and Wales with fellow family members to raise money for Action Duchenne JON GRANGER REF: 50034306B000

Christopher and Katrina Smith, of Ulverston, are leading a group assault on the three highest peaks in England, Scotland and Wales to help find a cure for a rare illness.

Mr and Mrs Smith’s six-year-old son, Curtis, has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which is a severe and progressive muscle wasting disease.

The debilitating condition affects only boys at a rate of about one in every 3,500 births and can dramatically reduce the life expectancy of its sufferers.

Since Curtis’ diagnosis, the Smiths have relied heavily on the support and advice of charity Action Duchenne to help them manage their son’s condition. Curtis, who is in Year One at Sir John Barrow School, struggles to walk even small distances and on occasions must use a wheelchair and be carried up stairs.

Now they want to repay some of that goodwill by raising money to assist the group in finding a cure.

Mr Smith, Curtis’s brother Lewis, 14, uncle James Smith and cousins Ben Bolton and Mike Dillen will start their challenge on Scotland’s Ben Nevis (1,344m) before tackling Scafell Pike (978m) and finishing with Snowdon (1,085m) in Wales.

Mrs Smith and Curtis’s godfather Martin Waddel will serve as support drivers before Mrs Smith joins the group to climb the final peak.

“It’s an event that we’ve heard of before and we know people that have done it before as well and we just want to raise money for Duchenne,” she said.

“It is the least I can do to help boys like my son. I relish the challenge and, as a family, we hope to do a lot more to help the cause by getting out there in among the community and fundraising.”

Action Duchenne regional development officer Diana Ribeiro said the disease was still not widely known in the community.

“It is thanks to families like the Smiths that awareness of our charity has increased across the UK and that we are able to raise funds for important research that makes a real difference to those living with Duchenne,” she said.

To sponsor the Smith family on their adventure, visit www.actionduchenne.org/stopwasting/usr3549483192/event/773/three-peak-challenge.

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