Julie and DionneTwo childhood friends from Laurencekirk have signed up for the Virgin London Marathon to raise money to help fight an incurable brain disorder.

Dionne Winter and Julie Ann Marshall are now in training for the April race on behalf of the Scottish Huntington’s Association

The pair will be running to support the work the charity does to help families living with the degenerative brain condition Huntington’s disease (HD).

“I really hate running but I have witnessed the impact HD can have on a family. Although I’m not related, it is friends I’ve known my whole life and who have supported me through good times and bad to such a significant degree that I am utterly consumed to step up and do something in return, I hope people in return will dig deep and support me,” said Dionne, a director at Headnorth Consulting who have chosen the SHA as their charity of the year.

The company deliver recruitment services and market intelligence to the oil and gas, power and construction and property industries across the UK.

SHA is the only charity in the country that works with families affected by the disease providing lifeline services, including specialist nurses and the world’s only HD youth support service.

HD is a hereditary progressive condition that causes changes to muscle control, thinking processes and may cause long-term mental health issues. Those living with the condition will require 24 hour care as it progresses into its later stages, there is currently no cure. It is also hereditary with each child of someone diagnosed with HD is at a 50% risk of developing the condition themselves.

There are estimated to be 1,100 people in Scotland living with the condition but as many as 5,000 could be potentially at risk.

Julie Ann has personal experience of HD.

“My mum has HD and I’ve seen her decline progressively over the years and with each new symptom or stage there’s a new wave of pain, not only for mum but for my family who can do nothing but try and support her.

“I have no idea where families would turn without the support the SHA provides to families living with this disease, it’s nothing short of a life line. That’s why I’m running the marathon,” she said.

If anyone would like to support Dionne or Julie Ann you can sponsor them at www.justgiving.com