Friday, 19 December 2014

Strength In Numbers

At the start of this year I had plans to raise awareness and funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign. It’s what I do because I suffer from the condition and I have become extremely passionate about wanting to help. This is how our story unfolded and what we did…

Going into the start of this year some family and friends were already training for events and fundraising had started in earnest.

Brothers in arms.
My daughter Lucie was planning to skydive alongside Tim, who is Lucie’s partner's father. Also, my brother Andrew was in training for the London Marathon with our family friend Mark Sammon. Again, raising lots of funds and awareness about the condition. Both were supported by their respective partners Lou and Katie. And our sister, Claire, threw a great fundraising party to boost funds even more.
Making today count

Another family friend, Michael Johnson, was also in training for London and again Michael was supported by his wife, Marie. Michael running the marathon was quite ‘stand out’ and significant to me because at the time of my accident which led to my diagnosis, Michael was my boss and he was there then and he has always been there since.
Michael, the man who absolutely loved his Marathon.

In May another friend got in touch and told me about an event in Aylesbury involving Pegasus gym. Malcolm had told me about a conversation he had had with Steve Cook (Gym owner and Pro British kickboxing Champion) and sponsors AFIX scaffolding. The ‘Train like a pro’ event would be sponsored and funds would also go to the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, also with a big opportunity for awareness with the campaigns logo being seen by many.

Pegasus - The home of Champions
UK Champion showing support

A work colleague and good mate, Graham Cocker, had decided to cycle 100 miles across London in aid of the Campaign telling me how I inspired him to ‘Keep going’.
Support through cycling

Another phone call from another friend and this time it was Harsha Odedra whom I worked with a few years ago, “Hi Martin, do you mind if I do three peaks for the Campaign?” Go for it, Harsha!
Room for any more? My good friend and fellow football fan, Jo Entwistle, started to run for the Campaign and boy did she run! Jo completed Leeds half Marathon, the Great North Run and the Leeds Abbey Dash.
Run Jo, Run!

Finally, it was up to me. I could not expect anyone to do all this and not get involved myself. So I did. Along with fellow Muscular Dystrophy sufferer, Freya Levy we decided to walk and roll one mile from Stoke Mandeville stadium to my local pub one mile away for the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign’s ‘Move a Mile for muscles’ and I kept going…

Big support from family and friends at the birth place of the paralympics

In that week in August I also walked another mile in Leeds, one mile to Elland Road. I was so glad and appreciative of all the support this included my wife, Michelle and once again, Jo literally holding me up to get to the finish. I was also very surprised that in the eleventh hour the football club got involved and that really moved things along for us. Thank you!

Marching On Together!

I had expectations at the start of the year; I knew I wanted to raise awareness and vital funds. I wanted more and more people to know about this condition and the fact that everyone can get involved to help. It‘s been sat on the back burner for too long. Too many people have suffered and we need to find treatments and cures as soon as possible. We will never do that if we do nothing. I have always said how grateful I am for this diagnosis and no other. There are far worse strains than mine and I will do everything in my power to help the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign help those that need it.

Together in 2014 this team, this group of fantastic people with all their precious sponsors raised 320 hours of world class research into Muscular Dystrophy!

So what now? What’s next?

I’m not done, not yet. In 2015 I plan to raise the bar again.

During 2015 I will be organising a huge event for the annual ‘Mile for Muscles’ in August.
Over 26 miles, over 30 participants, raising huge awareness and vital funds for world class research. A marathon of miles for muscles – An orange relay never been seen before.
I’ll also be completing that last mile and this will be possible due to a promise from my mate. Dean has promised to get me over that line by hook or by crook. I have a good idea that I will need walking apparatus during the next year and that’s fine by me. I am preparing for adjustments already and grabbing all I can to be as positive as I possibly can be.

Lots of people hear about my condition because I tell you about it here, in my writing. Some families do not get that opportunity. They cannot afford the time to raise their voice due to the condition they are dealing with. Whether that is a small child with Duchenne or one of the many other forms of Muscular Dystrophy. So it’s up to us, it’s up to us to help the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign. In 2015 we need to shout and we need to shout loudly. Tell everyone about these devastating conditions and get all the help we can.
I have asked once already on social media and I’ll be asking again… “Can you help?” The answer I got floored with by so many was “Count me in!” so that’s the start, that’s the hashtag we’ll be using on social media going forward. 

Do you want to be part of team Hywood and carry that orange baton, to fund world class research and be part of something magnificent? I really do hope so.

 “There is strength in numbers, yes, but even more so in collective good will. For those endeavours are supported by mighty forces unseen.”

You can follow the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign @TargetMD and me @HywoodMartin on twitter.

#CountMeIn #MileForMuscles #TeamOrange


  1. Amazing year Martin! You've acheived so much and inspired even more than you've posted here.

  2. Another great piece Martin. Bring on 2015, which I am sure will be another big year for you and achievements in spreading the word on MD.