Luke’s bravery inspires local man to first ever marathon
THE heartrending story of a Coalisland family’s quest to raise money to find a cure for their son’s devastating muscle wasting condition, has spurred one local man to sign up to his first ever marathon in order to raise awareness of the condition.
Eamon McNally, from Killyman, was touched by the bravery of his friends Aidan and Claire O’Hanlon, who have embarked on a mammoth fundraising challenge in aid of Leap for Luke, a charity organisation set up in the name of their 16 month old son.
The couple, from Derrytresk, formed the group to raise vital funds for two neuro muscular charities, Action Duchenne and the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign.
Aidan and Claire’s son has the condition, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), and, tragically, Claire’s brother Mark. and three uncles, all died from DMD at a young age.
Since Luke’s story was first highlighted in the Tyrone Times - and through the Leap for Luke Facebook page - Claire and Aidan have been overwhelmed by the generosity of so many local people who have pledged to help in any way they can.
Recently, Luke’s parents, along with other family members and friends, completed a Zipline Challenge, which raised the fantastic sum of £3,005, while a number of other fundraising events are planned for the near future, including a Fancy Dress Hallowe’en Disco and a Santa Breakfast.
Spurred on by the efforts of Luke’s family and friends, Eamon McNally has been committing himself to regular training for the Dublin Marathon, due to take place on October 29.
And, while he admits it has been difficult to combine training with a busy job and two young children, Eamon is determined to give the marathon his best shot so that he can raise as much money as possible for Luke’s cause.
“I have been running regularly just to keep fit for about the last three years or so, but I have never undertaken anything like a marathon before”, Eamon told the Tyrone Times.
“It has been tough building up my distances and endurance over the last few months, but I have been so inspired by Claire, Aidan and Luke that I’m determined to complete the marathon on October 29 and hopefully raise a lot of money for the charity.
“I’m really hoping as many people as possible will support me by making a donation to Leap for Luke and I know that Claire and Aidan - and little Luke - will be very grateful for all your help.”
Claire and Aidan, through Leap for Luke, have set themselves a major challenge of raising £20,000 by next year, and want to thank everyone who has offered to help them reach this milestone.
Details of the Hallowe’en Disco at The Gables in Carland on Saturday, October 27, can be found on Leap for Luke’s Facebook page, with tickets due to be released shortly.
Plans are also in place to hold a Santa Breakfast in the run-up to Christmas, while 10 people have already signed up to take part in next year’s Belfast City Marathon in aid of Leap for Luke.
The organisation, meanwhile, has been chosen as the Charity of the Night at this week’s prestigious Mid Ulster Business Awards to take place at Castle Hill in Dungannon on Wednesday evening.
To find out more about how you can donate to Eamon McNally’s Marathon Challenge, log on to the website www.justgiving.com/leg-it-for-luke
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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