Written by Editorial Team, DonateToday
Published: Monday, 9th April 2018

One Show interviewee inspires viewer to do his bit to help Harrison's Fund fight rare genetic condition Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

After being inspired by a segment on the BBC’s The One Show, a Suffolk man will take on an epic cycling challenge on behalf of UK charity Harrison’s Fund this summer.

Back in 2016, Alex Smith, founder of Harrison’s Fund – a charity dedicated to fighting the rare genetic condition Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy – competed in Challenge Denmark, an Ironman Challenge.

This feat would have been impressive enough, but when it is discovered that the father completed the challenge with his son Harrison (who suffers from the aforementioned genetic condition and whose illness was the reason his parents founded the charity), pushing and pulling the youngster along the course in specially formatted equipment, the achievement becomes even more inspirational.

It certainly proved that way for father-of-two, Duncan Smith of Ipswich. ‘I saw Alex on The One Show and was so impressed by his dedication to his son and his physical efforts in attempting the Iron Man Challenge with Harrison – and also with the attitude taken by Harrison – that I donated then and there,’ he remembers. 

‘When I decided that I wanted to challenge myself this year by riding the Camino Way in Spain – from Leon to Santiago de Compostella – it was natural for me to decide that it was a great opportunity to raise some money and awareness for the charity.’

Starting on Sunday 6th May, the 55-year-old will aim to cover the 315km between Leon and Santiago de Compostella in less than a week – as he aims to arrive at his final destination on Friday 11th May. Riding with a friend, Duncan is aiming to raise £750 for the worthy cause.

‘It is so heart-warming to hear stories like this and see how Alex’s strength and determination to give Harrison that Ironman experience can touch others,’ said Luci Roberts, Fundraising and Campaigns Executive at the charity.

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is a fatal neuromuscular condition caused by a lack of protein called dystrophin, resulting in progressive muscle weakness. It affects around 2,500 boys and young men – their average lifespan is just 20 years and the condition is 100% fatal. While other charities focus on palliative care, Harrison’s Fund is different as it focuses all of its efforts on finding a cure for the terrible illness.