Laurencekirk friends finish race for charity

Dionne and Julie Ann bask in the glory of finishing their first marathon
Dionne and Julie Ann bask in the glory of finishing their first marathon

Two childhood friends from Laurencekirk gave a boost to people suffering from a brain condition by completing the Virgin London Marathon.

Dionne Winter and Julie Ann Marshall successfully completed the gruelling 26 mile course, and in doing so raised £6432 for the Scottish Huntington’s Association (SHA).

Dionne, a director at oil and gas company Headnorth Consulting, said: “I really hate running, so this was a huge challenge for me.

“Just knowing that the money I raised would go towards such a great cause was all that kept me going at times.”

She crossed the finish line with her lifelong friend Julie Ann, whose mother has Huntington’s disease.

Julie Ann said: “I know from my own experience that every penny of this money will be used to improve the lives of families living with the disease every day.

“The support the SHA provides is nothing short of a lifeline.”

The Scottish Huntington’s Association is said to be the only charity in the country that works with families affected by the disease, providing ‘lifeline services’.

These include specialist nurses and the world’s only Hungtinton’s disease youth support service.

It is a ‘hereditary progressive condition’ that causes changes to muscle control and thinking processes. It can also cause long-term mental health issues.

People living with the condition require 24 hour care as it progresses into its later stages and there is currently no cure.

As it is an hereditary condition, there is a 50% risk of a sufferer’s child developing it themselves.

It is estimated that 1100 people in Scotland are living with it, but that as many as 5000 could potentially be at risk.

Headnorth Consulting chose SHA as their charity of the year and deliver “recruitment and market intelligence to the oil and gas, power and construction industries in the UK”, Dionne added.