A CHARITY set up by a Coalisland mother to help fund research into the devastating genetic condition muscular dystrophy, has been selected to benefit from Northern Ireland’s biggest farming and social event.
Leap for Luke/Action Duchenne have been named by Agriculture Minister, Michelle O’Neill MLA, as the chosen charity at this year’s Balmoral Show, and will be represented at a breakfast hosted by her on May 16.
The charity was set up by Claire O’Hanlon, whose two year-old son Luke suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD).
Claire lost her brother Mark to the condition, as well as three of her uncles, and has campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness of DMD and fund medical research into it.
She and more than 30 other people from the Coalisland and surrounding areas took part in the Belfast Marathon last week in aid of Leap for Luke and Our Little Oggy Bear, in honour of Luke and little Brian Og McStravog, son of Claire’s cousin, Kerry.
The group of runners - under the banner of Run for the Boys - from the Coalisland district were among 97 people who participated in the marathon for Action Duchenne.
Parents Andrew and Yvette McClean from Ballymena had co ordinated the Action Duchenne marathon effort with Run for the Boys co-ordinating efforts in the Coalisland area.
An evening event after the marathon was held at Malone Lodge and afforded the two Coalisland boys an opportunity to meet none other than Game of Thrones actor, Richard Dormer.
With monies still coming in, it is thought the Run for the Boys team raised a phenomenal £5,000 for the charity.
Supporters of both Leap for Luke and Our Little Oggy Bear will be interested to know a Guest Tea has been organised by Derrytresk GAA Club on June 7.
The boys’ mums, Claire and Kerry, would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to all those who took part in the marathon, who donated to the two charities, and anyone who helped in any way.
Claire says she and Kerry continue to be amazed by how much support they have received from local people, businesses, schools and community groups.
Speaking to the Tyrone Times, Agriculture Minister and Mid Ulster MLA, Michelle O’Neill, said: “Every year I get the chance to choose a charity to benefit from the breakfast that DARD hosts for the Balmoral Show, and this year I chose Leap for Luke because of Claire and Aidan and their extended family and friends.
“This is a good opportunity for me to be able to help them in what they are trying to achieve.”