A father and son team are set to make history on 6th October when Paul Chandler will push his wheelchair reliant son over 50km at the Royal Parks Foundation Ultra.
Paul and seven year old son Dominic, who has Duchene muscular dystrophy and is supported by Shooting Star CHASE, have been granted special dispensation to take part by race organisers based on their experience and competitive race times.
Since Dominic was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy in 2009 they have taken part in 25 organised races, but have never tackled an ultra distance race.
“I wanted to be able to do more things with Dominic; he was starting to realise he was different from other children," says Paul. "We couldn’t go for walks and bike rides in the park, so we started running together instead. We spend Sunday mornings running through Richmond and Bushy Park – it’s our way of spending time together”
Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a degenerative condition and Dominic will continue to lose muscle function. Paul explained that this could be the only chance they have to take part in an Ultra Marathon together and that as Dominic deteriorates he will find it more and more uncomfortable to sit in his wheelchair, meaning they will have to start winding down their runs together.
Paul and his family from Surrey regularly visit Shooting Star CHASE hospice in Hampton. "The people at Shooting Star CHASE have supported us since the diagnosis,” he said. “They are a great charity and have helped us cope and thrive as a family. The Ultra Marathon will be tough but we will get through it for each other and for Shooting Star CHASE. ”
Karen Peffer, Challenge Events Fundraiser at Shooting Star CHASE, said: “Paul has been regularly running in support of Shooting Star CHASE for the last three years and has helped raise awareness of the work we do and the families we help. The positive way the whole family has taken on the continual challenges that come with Dominic’s condition is truly inspirational and we cannot thank them enough for all they do, they are amazing.
“Shooting Star CHASE is here to support families as their needs develop not just in our hospice, but also in the community with our Hospice at Home service. We’ll be out there cheering them along at the route in October! If anyone would like to donate to Paul and Dominic, they can visit their Virgin Money Giving page.”
Shooting Star CHASE needs to raise £23,000 every day to continue to provide vital support to local families who have a child or teenager with a life-limiting condition. They receive no guaranteed funding and rely on the people who support them to continue to help families make every day count.