Local man will run every day for a year to help Southport child Bertie

HOW about running more than 43 marathons in one year? That’s what Southport resident Andy Brown will be doing from the 18th November to fundraise for Muscular Dystrophy UK.

Andy is no stranger to running a large distance having already taken part in the London Marathon earlier this year where he raised more than £3000 for Muscular Dystrophy. But now he has set his sights on a challenge that, in his own words, “feels a lot more uncertain, if not a little scary”.

Andy will run a minimum of 5 km’s every day for a whole year with a fundraising target of £3000.

Andy is taking on this challenge to raise funds for registered charity Muscular Dystrophy UK after meeting seven-year-old Churchtown youngster Bertie Kay, who has a very rare muscle wasting condition and was inspired to do something to help fund research into his condition for which there is no cure.

Andy said, “The anniversary of Bertie’s official diagnosis is on 18 November and hearing how this day felt to Bertie and his family I felt this was a very appropriate day to start my challenge. I have now realised that means I will need to run at least 1134 miles which is the equivalent of over 43 marathons! It sounds quite daunting when I think of it like that but I am determined to do this to help raise funds for research into Bertie’s condition.

In 2014 (aged 2), Bertie was diagnosed with a progressive muscle-wasting condition attacking Bertie’s strength and mobility but also his ability to breathe too. Bertie’s faulty collagen VI gene means that Bertie’s body doesn’t make this specific type of collagen very well. This is needed for making up connective tissue for muscle cells – like the scaffolding around each muscle cell. Because the structure of Bertie’s muscle cells are weak, this means his muscle tissue doesn’t repair or regenerate very effectively, meaning his muscles become weaker and weaker over time.

Charles Horton, Regional Development Manager for Muscular Dystrophy UK said: “We are really grateful to Andy for taking on such a tough challenge in the coming year to help children like Bertie affected by Ullrich muscular dystrophy. Every day counts for these children and it is only through the support of our volunteer fundraisers that we are able to continue our work and fund the vital research that will hopefully, one day soon, bring about therapeutic treatments or ultimately, a cure. I look forward to watching Andy’s progress over the coming year and wish him every success with his challenge.”

Andy Brown begins his year-long running challenge on 18 November and you can support him with a donation on his Just Giving page at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/red4bertie