More than £8,000 has been raised for Duchenne Ireland by a bunch of gutsy marathon runners.
Running for Niall O’Doherty, who has muscular dystrophy, were his father Kevin, uncle, Sean Lafferty, Alan Boyle and James Crampsey.
The four men raised the money after taking on the gruelling 26 miles of the Dublin marathon.
Even dad Kevin overcame a serious ankle injury to take part.
Niall, who was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy takes everything in his stride and loves playing, dancing, riding his bike and most of all singing.
However his devoted parents Deborah and Kevin know that in the years to come things will become more difficult for their youngest child.
The couple say they will never give up hope of finding a cure and have thrown themselves into fundraising for the past two years beginning with a charity night.
“Local people have been so good,” said Deborah. “I’d like to thank all the businesses and homes who helped us to raise £8,069.85.
Also AQB for the money they raised.
“Special thanks also has to go to our good friend Kathleen McColgan who has helped me knock on doors to fundraise over the weeks.
Nothing we ask Kathleen is ever too much, and without her help I couldn’t have done it.”
“Niall has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy,” explained Deborah.
“It’s a muscle wasting disease which is usually not diagnosed until a child is 4 or 5.
“He looks grand now and is like any other toddler, but we know at some stage things will change.”
The couple were first concerned about Niall when his mum noticed that as a baby he wasn’t sitting up as quickly as her other three children.
“The doctor ordered blood tests and we thought we were worrying about nothing,” said Deborah.
“When we were told Niall had muscular dystrophy it was like a bolt out of the blue.”
“We cried the clock round,” explained his dad Kevin. “Even now it is hard to accept because Niall is just a normal four year-old.
“It’s hard not to think about the future, about whether Niall will ever get married or if someone can look after him when we’re gone. But we just have to take one day at a time.”
Deborah says the fact that Niall is not showing any signs of the condition at present makes it so difficult.
“I keep thinking maybe the doctors have made a mistake,” she said. “I have to stop myself ringing them up and asking them to repeat the blood test.
“It’s hard thinking about what will be happening in the next few years.”
The couple explained that while the condition varies, most children will show a gradual decline in their muscle strength between the age of three and four.
And Niall’s life expectancy will be his late 20s or early 30s.
“We want to raise as much money as we can for trials and research in the hope of finding a cure,” said Deborah.
“I’d like to thank all those people who have helped us so much in the past, and the many people who have been so kind when we have knocked on their doors.
“If anyone has any ideas for fundraising they can contact Deborah on 71359215 or 07927400670.