Young swimmers went to extraordinary lengths to help fund research into a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy at an inaugural event held at Melton’s Waterfield Leisure Centre.
A total of 35 enthusiastic swimmers, ranging in age from six to 15, took the plunge for the first-ever Duchenne Dip with the youngsters combined swimming way further than a 26.2-mile marathon. Individual swim distances ranged from four lengths to 128 lengths (two miles).
They were predominantly local children, including 17 Gaddesby Primary School pupils, seven John Ferneley College students, eight young people from other local schools and three from Nottinghamshire.
The event, which raised just under £3,000 on the night, was organised by Thorpe Satchville woman Nicki Lygo who has been supported by family and friends in her efforts to raise funds for Duchenne UK.
The charity’s goal is to fund and accelerate treatments and a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
The Lygo family have friends whose eight-year-old son, Thomas, was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy at the age of four. The genetic progressive muscle-wasting disease eventually renders sufferers unable to move. There is currently no known cure. Those affected require a wheelchair by around the age of 10 to 12 and usually die by their late teens or early twenties as their heart and breathing muscles become affected.
However, there is hope to end the disease. Clinical trials are underway looking at the potential of several different medications to slow its progression or to stop it in its tracks entirely. But more money is needed to fund and accelerate research into treatments and a cure.
Since early 2014 Nicki and her family have been raising funds for the trust. Including gift aid, the family’s fundraising total now stands at £24,000.
Nicki said: “It was an amazing night at the Duchenne Dip. The atmosphere was charged with fun and enthusiasm. It was a struggle to get some of the swimmers to stop once they had reached their agreed distance!
“We had good luck video messages from Austin Healey, Rob Delaney, Ran Fiennes and Charlie Condou, all of which were played on a large screen in the foyer, interspersed with videos explaining more about Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
“There were snack bags for each swimmer, the contents of which were very kindly donated by Sainsbury’s, and every swimmer received a medal and certificate for taking part.”
Diving photographers captured the debut event from under the water, donating their valuable time, equipment and skills entirely free of charge.
There was also a cake stall, full of donated, home-baked tasty treat, and a tombola table brimming with prizes.
People can still make donations by visiting www.justgiving.com/endduchenne
Nicki added: “Thank you to all the fabulous children, their families and generous sponsors who supported the Duchenne Dip. So far almost all of the helpers and swimmers have pledged their time and skills once again for next year! We will be on the lookout for even more swimmers for The Duchenne Dip 2017.”
To register an interest in taking part or to find out more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or send a message via the Facebook page www.facebook.com/duchennedip
Nicki and her family have already taken part in various fundraising challenges in aid of the trust, with more gruelling events still to come.
Since the start of this year Nicki’s husband, Matt, has been running a marathon a month throughout 2016.
Nicki and a group of brave friends and family members are taking part in the London2Cambridge Challenge on July 2. Some will walk 100km and some 50km. The youngest taking part will be only 14. Everyone will be walking non-stop and with no sleep.
Nicki and Matt’s nine-year-old son, will be walking the Ridgeway National Trail in July. He will cover the 87 miles over the first week of the summer holidays, with Nicki as his packhorse and companion!
Nicki will also be walking the Pennine Way both ways this year, taking on a total 860km distance and 78,000ft of ascent by walking from Derbyshire to Scotland and back again to earn people’s pennies.
To make a donation visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/endduchenne