A group of cyclists are to go the distance from Falkirk to Inverness and back again to support a brave youngster’s battle against a muscle-wasting disease.
The six-strong team will rally together for Brightons boy Kerr Hunter (6) and travel to Inverness Castle on Saturday, September 1 to pedal all 516 miles of the North Coast 500 — before hitting the road and going through the gears to finish off their 1200km-long charity effort at the Kelpies on Sunday, September 8.
Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) sufferer Kerr, who was diagnosed aged just three, faces the prospect of being left wheelchair-bound by the time he turns 12 as a result of the condition, which causes muscles to weaken and waste over time, leading to increasing disability.
Currently, few sufferers live to the age of 30.
Kerr’s mum, Alyson, was touched when her cousin, John Scullion, told her he planned to lead a group on the North Coast 500 Then Hame trip in her son’s name.
The kind and daring deed is the latest in a long line of fundraisers taken on by family and friends of the Kerrs for the Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund. It also coincides with a ten-Munro challenge being undertaken by Kerr’s nine-year-old brother, Aaron, who has passed the halfway stage as he seeks to support the fund’s work in caring for youngsters left debilitated by DMD.
John has now managed to assemble a squad of cyclists or relatives and friends from across the country to take on the challenge.
He explained: “We all climbed Ben Nevis as a family to raise money and I had this idea I would do something every year as a challenge to raise money for Kerr and the fund.
“It’s about raising awareness of the condition as well.
“I’ve driven the North Coast before, but I’ve not done it on a bike. We thought we’d do it as it’s an iconic route and we’d finish it at the Kelpies in Falkirk, where Kerr is from.
“A few have done a long distance challenge on the bikes and people are coming from all over — from Orkney, Arbroath and Galashiels — to take part.”
Reacting to the North Coast 500 attempt, Alyson said: “We are so grateful that people are willing to do that for us. Raising money for research is important for us because there’s nothing else we can do to support Kerr.
“To think friends and family are going to those lengths is fantastic. There will be a group of us there to cheer them on as they arrive back.”
Alyson also heaped praise on her eldest son for the effort he has put in to climb six Munros out of a targeted ten in just a matter of months.
She said: “There are three you can do in the one day at Glenshee. We’re planning to do that with him at the beginning of September and finish with Ben Nevis, which we have all climbed before.”
To support the group’s North Coast 500 Then Hame challenge, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/nc500thenhame. For more information on the Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund, go to www.musculardystrophyuk.org.