Brothers-in-law are brothers-in-arms for the cause

Cumbernauld brothers-in-law Mark Young and John McAvoy are preparing to hit the ground running in the 2018 BMW Berlin Marathon.

Mark Young (left) and James McAvoy taking part in the MND Scotland Fun Run at Strathclyde Park

They’re taking on the challenge in September to raise awareness of Motor Neurone Disease (MND) and to raise funds for the charity MND Scotland.

Mark and John are running the marathon in memory of John’s mother, Helen McAvoy, who was diagnosed with MND in 2003, passing away just 18 months later.

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MND 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.

Mark said: “We both decided that, when we won our places in the Berlin Marathon ballot, we could use the opportunity to raise some funds for MND Scotland and hopefully raise awareness of this horrible disease.”

Although John and his family had heard of MND before Helen was diagnosed, they were totally unaware of how rapid and aggressive the illness would be.

The family really struggled to come to terms with this horrible illness and Helen left behind her husband John, son John and daughter Sharon, along with her three grandsons.

Mark continued, “Now we’ve decided to take part in the Berlin Marathon in Helen’s memory. Both of us are feeling very excited about the prospect of running a marathon in such an amazing city and we’re looking forward to running across the finish line at the Brandenburg Gate.

“We started training in February as novice runners and we’re now clocking-up as many as 20 miles per week in training. We ran the Stirling Half Marathon on April 29 in a time of 1hr 48mins.

“We also managed the MND Scotland annual 10k Fun Run on May 12 at Strathclyde Park in a time of 44 minutes so we’re aiming to complete the Berlin Marathon in under four hours.”

Iain McWhirter, MND Scotland’s head of fundraising, said: “It’s because of passionate fundraisers like Mark and John that we’re able to continue providing information, care and support to people affected by MND, as well as fund cutting-edge research into a cure.

“I wish them all the best for the run and team MND Scotland will be cheering them on every step of the way.”

To sponsor Mark and John visit