MUM-OF-THREE Claire Kelly will finish her marathon fundraising challenge for Motor Neurone Disease this weekend when she takes on the 12th of 12 marathons this year.
Raising awareness and funds for MND Scotland, Alford based Claire will tackle the Dublin marathon on Sunday.
Claire, from Alford in Aberdeenshire, took on this immense challenge in memory of her uncle, Dominic Byrne, who passed away from MND in October last year.
Claire said: “Dublin will be a bittersweet race for me.
“On one hand it marks the end of my 12 in 12 challenge, which has raised almost £3500 for MND Scotland, but on the other hand it’s also the first anniversary of my uncle’s death from MND.
“When I am struggling during a race I sometimes question why I’m even doing it and the irony that I am running when those with this disease are slowly losing the use of their bodies.
“It’s unbelievably cruel, but if I can do something to help, and this challenge is a way, then I will.
“This is a cruel and indiscriminate disease. It doesn’t matter how fit or healthy you are, if you get it, it’s a death sentence.”
Claire, who runs a sports therapy business, added: “The 12 in 12 challenge is my way of trying to make sure that other families battling this disease have the support they need and hopefully, in the future, maybe we can wipe out motor neurone disease completely.
“This year I have run marathons right across the UK – from the Scottish Highlands to Brighton. It’s been physically challenging, mentally gruelling and tough on the family.
“I’m heading to Dublin tired – it’s been a long 12 months – but motivated by everyone who has donated to the 12 in 12 challenge. Together we are helping MND Scotland take a step closer to a cure.”
Iain McWhirter, head of fundraising and volunteering at MND Scotland, said, “We’d like to thank Claire for raising an incredible £3,500 for MND Scotland.
“Running 12 marathons in 12 months is no mean feat and we are in awe of her amazing achievement.
“The money she has raised will go towards helping us continue to support people affected by MND and fund vital research into finding a cure. Good luck for the last hurdle in Dublin Claire.”
Once she has completed the mammoth feat, Claire already has plans for another ‘12 in 12’ for 2017.
Motor Neurone Disease is a rapidly progressing terminal illness, which stops signals from the brain reaching the muscles.
This may cause someone to lose the ability to walk, talk, eat, drink or breathe unaided.
There is currently no cure or effective treatment for MND and the average life expectancy from diagnosis is just 14 months.
There are over 450 people in Scotland currently living with MND and on average over 160 new cases of MND are diagnosed each year.
MND Scotland is the only Scottish charity providing care and support to people affected by the disease, as well as funding research into finding a cure.