A group of cyclists are set to cover 400 miles on pedal power to raise £10,000 to boost research into a rare genetic condition.
Fiona and Andrew Walton’s son Charlie was diagnosed with MECP2 duplication syndrome in January.
The condition, which can leave those affected unable to walk, talk or eat, affects just a small number of people worldwide.
However, support for the family, from Macclesfield in Cheshire, came from Carnoustie mum Jenny McMillan through social media.
Jenny, who is well-known for her efforts to fundraise for her son Blake, who also has MECP2 duplication syndrome, reached out to Fiona via a Facebook support group.
The families have now organised an en masse bike ride from Carnoustie to Macclesfield to raise funds for charity Reverse Rett.
Jenny said: “I’m on a Facebook support group (for parents of children with the syndrome) and Fiona had posted about feeling very distressed. It brought back a lot of memories for me from when Blake got his diagnosis and I could really relate to her. She said she was so glad I had got in touch.”
Eight of Fiona’s family and friends, including husband Andrew and brothers John and Simon Goodwin, are expected to do the full 400-mile ride from Tayside to Cheshire.
However, another dozen or so are expected to join along the way, with Jenny and Fiona following in a rented “support vehicle”.
The entire cycle, which starts today, is expected to culminate in a “homecoming” fundraiser in Cheshire on Sunday.
More than £8,400 of a £10,000 target – boosted from an initial £5,000 – had been raised as the Tele went to press.
Fiona said: “About 20 minutes after I joined this Facebook group I had a message from Jenny saying she was there if I needed help. I think there are probably only about 30 or so kids with this condition in the UK.
“John is a very keen cyclist although a few of those taking part are complete novices – they’ve been out buying new bikes because they’ve never done anything like this.
“All of the families of children who have the condition all feel . . . it’s very hard to describe. You just want to make life easier for your kids and hope for a cure. There’s talk of clinical trials in two years but we just need to carry on fundraising. The more research that’s done the better.”
The fundraising team can be tracked online at justgiving.com/companyteams/blaketocharlie.