‘Evan would be so proud’ - Buncrana pier tragedy mum runs Belfast marathon

Louise James pictured with hero Davitt Walsh after the marathon on Monday. 
Photograph By Declan Roughan
Louise James pictured with hero Davitt Walsh after the marathon on Monday. Photograph By Declan Roughan

Derry mum Louise McGrotty who this morning ran a leg of the Belfast marathon to raise money for the Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund, said her son Evan who suffered from the condition would have been “very proud.”

More than one hundred runners tackled the Belfast Marathon this morning as #TeamEvan in memory of Evan who lost his life, alongside members of his family in the Buncrana Pier tragedy in March.

Louise James pictured with runners from Derry who come together to take part in the Belfast marathon.

Louise James pictured with runners from Derry who come together to take part in the Belfast marathon.

Evan’s mum, Louise and Davitt Walsh, who saved Evan’s baby sister, Rioghnach-Ann, were among family, friends and members of the community running together as “Team Evan.”

Before the marathon, Louise commented: “I want to thank every single person who took part in the event to remember Evan, whether you ran the race or have put your hand in your pocket to donate. You did something remarkable in his name and to celebrate his life. I know he would be very proud.

“Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is a heart-breaking condition. There are hundreds of young people who live with it today. For them, we need to raise awareness of Duchenne. We need to help make sure that children and their families in the future don’t face the same fears and challenges that we did.

“It means so much that people who knew Evan and my family and many who didn’t, have come together like this.”

Hugs and kisses from a proud mummy Louise  last year as Evan McGrotty collects his medal for the Walled City Marathon mini race. Picture Margaret McLaughlin

Hugs and kisses from a proud mummy Louise last year as Evan McGrotty collects his medal for the Walled City Marathon mini race. Picture Margaret McLaughlin

The group hopes to raise £3,000 towards Muscular Dystrophy UK’s ground-breaking research to beat Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

Members of the team took part in the relay race while others covered the full marathon distance to raise vital funds for the charity’s Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund. They wore a specially designed T-shirt featuring Evan and his big brother, Mark (12), who also lost his life in the tragedy.

Thomas McCallion, who co-ordinated the group for the Belfast Marathon, told how his son, also named Tom (8), asked him to take up the challenge in memory of Evan, his best friend:

“Following an effort from my own running club members to run the Belfast Marathon in support of the family, I spoke to my family about possibly doing something myself.

“My son Tom, who was Evan’s best friend, asked if I would do the full marathon in his memory, a request I couldn’t say no to. My own club runners and members of other local clubs in Derry and Donegal have also showed fantastic support. It has been a positive and memorable day for us all.”

Mr. Robert Meadowcroft, Chief Executive of Muscular Dystrophy UK, said: “We extend our heartfelt thanks to Louise, Thomas and all those who ran with them. We are deeply proud to have their support. It’s impossible to comprehend what Louise, her family and friends must be going through. We are in awe of the strength of character they display in resolving to do something so tremendous to celebrate the lives of those lost.

“We are determined to accelerate research leading to treatments, and cures, for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and all muscle-wasting conditions. Thanks to the huge efforts from Team Evan, we will be able to move forward in the fight to beat Duchenne.”

Team Evan encourages you to give generously to support Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Research. You can support the team by visiting [JustGiving details].

For more information about the Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund, visit: http://www.musculardystrophyuk.org/get-involved/your-money/duchenne-research-breakthrough-fund