For the love of Walter: Plymouth to Paris and Beyond

The parents of a Plymouth boy with muscular dystrophy will cycle to Paris and back for Muscular Dystrophy UK.

Dad Ben Johnstone says: “Our son Walter was diagnosed with 'Dystroglycanopathy' a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy in July last year aged 8 months old. This came as a massive shock to me, my wife Montana and our eldest son Sydney.

“At the time we had no idea what this meant for Walter and the effects it would have on him and us. Muscular dystrophy is a group of muscle diseases that weaken and breakdown skeletal muscles over time. Many people with the disease will be unable to walk.

“Walter is an amazing little boy and doing all he can to defy the odds stacked against him. This is a daily inspiration.”

My friends Lewis Johns and Dan White suggested a charity ride for Walter to raise awareness and help other families like ours going through uncertain times. We decided we needed to really test ourselves and create a challenge that would not be easy!

“We will  get the ferry from Plymouth to Roscoff on May 2 and ride from Roscoff to Paris and back in a large loop totalling 780 miles. “Our aim is to complete this over 7 days and return to Plymouth on May 9.

“It’s quite a challenge but we are determined to try and average 100+ miles a day - with a fundraising target of £2,000.

“My wife Montana is also taking on a running challenge and will tackle the Ivybridge 10k in May. So far she has raised £1410.”

Nicole Beebee Regional Development Manager at Muscular Dystrophy UK, said:b“Life for children and young people living with muscular dystrophy could be very different – research is at a critical stage. It’s fantastic to see Walters family and friends come together to help us raise awareness and funds.”

Muscle-wasting conditions cause muscles to weaken and waste over time, leading to increasingly severe disability. People living with the conditions may struggle with the everyday actions others take for granted, from walking and climbing stairs, to blinking and smiling. For some, their heart and vital breathing muscles will weaken, cutting their lives short.

To find out about volunteering opportunities with Muscular Dystrophy UK, please visit www.musculardystrophuk.org/volunteer.

To support the family visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/montana-johnstone