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Family trio conquer Great Wilderness Challenge to help fight HD

A family get together to conquer the Great Wilderness Challenge has raised around £3000 to support families impacted by the degenerative, neurological condition Huntington’s disease (HD).

Tom Lister from Aultbea was joined by Oxford based brother Stephen, and grand nephew Jacob (8) for the trek in aid of the Scottish Huntington’s Association (SHA).

The Great Wilderness Challenge is an annual event that takes place in the Poolewe area of the northwest Highlands and consists of seven, 13 and 25-mile courses through some of the most rugged terrain in the country. It attracts around 500 competitors from around the world.

This year the Lister family completed the 13-mile course.

‘The majority of the money is raised through Jacob; he really is dedicated to fundraising for the cause. Two years ago we tackled the seven mile course when he was only six, this time we walked from Aultbea to Poolewe and have again raised a fantastic amount thanks to our generous supporters,’ said Tom.

‘Unlike some HD charities 100% of the money raised for the SHA goes to supporting families living with the condition. They leave research funding to others which, is great for families like us who rely so much on the support they offer.’

‘Since my wife Helen was diagnosed 15 years ago they have been invaluable to our family and our caseworker Gordon Bogan has been immense in helping us cope.’

SHA supports HD families through a national network of specialists, a world leading youth support team and its financial wellbeing service.

HD is a complex condition with symptoms that typically begin to develop between the ages of 30 and 50. It causes three main groups of symptoms: changes to thinking processes – a type of early onset dementia, loss of muscle control and involuntary movements which lead to loss of speech and swallow along with mental illness. Those impacted by HD may lose the ability to walk, talk, eat, drink or make decisions and will eventually need 24 hour care. It is also hereditary with each child of those diagnosed at 50% risk of developing the disease. There is currently no cure.

It is estimated there are around 1100 people living with HD in Scotland and up to 6000 potentially at risk.

‘Now that we have completed the middle distance I think Jacob will be keen on tackling the full 25 miles pretty soon, although I’m not sure if I’ll be joining him without some serious training,’ added Tom.

Anyone interested in fundraising for the the SHA should contact Linda Winters on 0141 848 0308 linda.winter@hdscotland.org.

Picture shows: Tom (left), Stephen and Jacob at the end of their fundraising trek.

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