A man from Greenhithe, Kent will be out running right through the Christmas break, determined to fundraise for the fiancée of his best friend who, along with several family members, is living with a muscle wasting disease.

Mark Woodward, who has signed up for his first marathon next year, says training in the winter before and after work is tough: “Running in the dark may be hard but nothing like as difficult as life can be for my friend Dawn who was diagnosed with Facioscapulohumeral FSHD muscular dystrophy (FSHD) later in life.”

He said: “I think the charity is working for a great cause and doing such a great job helping to support people who suffer from the conditions. I am a pretty active person and have done half marathons, tough mudders and spartan races in the past so thought I would really push myself to see if I could run a marathon. It has been tough as I have never done this kind of distance before, but I am getting there.”

Dawn said: “I felt so overwhelmed when Mark told me that he was running the marathon for MDUK – my fiancé Liam is joining him in the run as well.

“So Mark and I met through my fiancé, Liam 6 years ago. Liam and Mark went to primary school together so are life-long friends. We are very close to Mark and his fiancée and they have both provided both Liam and I with ample support over the past 4 years in particular while we got my diagnosis confirmed and my physical ability started to change. 

“I am affected by FSHD Muscular Dystrophy which currently affects my facial muscles, my right arm and my lower abdomen. Day to day I struggle with simple things such as reaching into shelves higher than my eye line, washing & brushing my hair and sleeping (it sounds over dramatic, but waking up after lying on my right arm is agony!) Longer term, the effects of my condition have stopped me from doing some elements of what I love – being active. I had aspirations of becoming a dancer, I love going to the gym, specifically weight lifting – these are just a couple of stand-out things that I have had to either stop or tone down on due to my condition.”

Mark is hoping to smash his 1.7kfundraising target. www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mark-woodward20

About muscle-wasting conditions

  • More than 70,000 children and adults in the UK have a muscle-wasting condition.
  • Muscle-wasting conditions cause muscles to weaken and waste over time, leading to increasingly severe disability. Some affect the heart and muscles vital for breathing, cutting lives short.
  • Muscle-wasting conditions may be inherited or strike out of the blue.
  • There are currently no effective treatments or cures available, but research to develop potential treatments is showing great promise.

About Muscular Dystrophy UK

  • Muscular Dystrophy UK is the charity bringing individuals, families and professionals together to beat muscle-wasting conditions. 
  • We offer practical and emotional support for people with a muscle-wasting condition and their families at every stage.
  • We are working to ensure everyone with a muscle-wasting condition has the right specialist NHS support and healthcare, whatever their age and wherever they live.
  • We fund world-leading research and won’t stop until we find treatments and cures for all our conditions.
  • We help people with all muscle-wasting conditions to improve quality of life, make the most of their independence and ensure every day counts.
  • For more information or to help support our work, visit www.musculardystrophyuk.org or call our free helpline during working hours on 0800 652 6352.