A TEAM of kind-hearted Kendalians are putting their best feet forward to raise money for a youngster suffering a rare debilitating disease.
A total of 22 people from across the town have signed up to complete the Great North Run to help eight-year-old Ella Dixon, who is one of only five girls in the whole country with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD).
Her mum, Clare Dixon, said: “We’re really touched by the effort people are willing to go to.
“Last year we had seven people running for Team Ella and this year 22 people have agreed to take part.
“We’re just really, really pleased and hope they can raise a lot.”
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Ella, a pupil at Heron Hill Primary School, was diagnosed with the disease in 2010. As a tot she had not learned to walk or crawl when others her age had, and her parents sought medical help when she started nursery.
She was referred to hospital in Barrow before being sent to the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, where she was put through a series of tests.
One test finally uncovered the DMD, which is caused by abnormalities in the gene that affects muscle structure.
Because the condition is so rare in girls, very little is known about how it will progress, although medics say it could eventually leave her paralysed with muscle and organ wasteage.
Ella cannot do the things her friends can - such as climbing trees, riding a bike or even walking very far - and she is often in pain with cramps in her muscles.
Her parents will donate half the money raised from the run to the Muscular Dystrophy Research charity.
The other half will be put into a fund which will pay for treatment and specialist equipment for Ella as she gets older.
“Sadly we don’t know what state the NHS will be in when Ella gets older and we’re already finding out how hard it is to get equipment and things for her,” continued Mrs Dixon, who lives with husband Craig Dixon at their Heron Hill home.
“We really struggled to get her a wheelchair, for example, even though I think that’s quite a basic item.
“As she gets older she’ll need more and more help so we’re thinking ahead and starting to prepare for that now.”
She added that while building company Jewson, who Mr Dixon works for, has offered to pay for the coach to ferry the running enthusiasts from Kendal to Newcastle, they are also hoping to find a sponser for the group's t-shirts.
The Great North Run, which covers a distance of 13.1 miles, will take place in September, and the team, aged between 20 and 40, are now in training by completing circuits around Kendal.
To donate or for more information please contact Mrs Dixon on 07778 814 783 or Mr Dixon on 07798 660 075.