Huge fundraising effort to help poorly Luke sees aunt nominated for Pride of Hartlepool award

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ULTRA fundraiser Gemma Hanna has already walked along the Great Wall of China and tackled the Great North Run to help a poorly boy.

The Hartlepool 32-year-old has done an It’s A Knockout style challenge and organised two fundraising evenings - all to gather in more than £40,000.

And even though her mega efforts have won her a nomination for a Pride of Hartlepool award, Gemma feels it will count for nothing unless she can find a cure for the rare disease affecting brave four-year-old Luke Malcolmson.

Gemma is the aunt of Luke who suffers from a muscular condition called Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

It affects just one in 3,500 males born in the UK, and could leave the youngster unable to walk by the time he is just 10 years old.

It is a currently incurable disorder which causes muscle degeneration and eventual death.

But ever since Luke was diagnosed at just 18 months old, his family have dedicated much of their life to raising funds to find a cure.

Gemma said: “Because it is such a rare disease, no-one in the family knew anything about it until it was diagnosed. It also became apparent that other people did not know about it either.”

She admitted: “I would be honoured if I did win an award. At the same time, though, I would be awarded an honour for something I haven’t earned if they haven’t found a cure.”

Gemma will never rest until she gathers in even more money for research. She has already registered for September’s Great North Run as well as for a 5 kilometre run in Sunderland.

“My aim is to make Luke better,” she said.

Luke’s parents Neil, 40, and Jayne Malcolmson, 41, were devastated when they were first told their youngest son had Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

But the fight for a cure goes on.

Meanwhile, we continue the search for entries in the Pride of Hartlepool competition. Ten categories up for grabs in the competition.

They are Sporting Achievement; Community Group; Community Champion; Student of the Year; Fundraiser of the Year; Child of 
Courage; Local Hero; Green Champion; Emergency Services and Young Performer of the Year.

You have until early March to put forward your favourites and we want to make this a record year for entry numbers. Make sure you fill in the nomination form in the Hartlepool Mail, or visit www.hartlepool.mail.co.uk and complete the online form.

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