A group of dedicated walkers in bright yellow made their way through Sutherland Shire last week as part of the week-long Walk 4 Duchenne.
The event is a fundraiser for Save Our Sons Duchenne Foundation, an organisation supporting the roughly 1000 Australians who live with Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy is the most common muscle disease of childhood, Save Our Sons reports, affecting about one in every 3500 newborn boys (it affects roughly one in 50 million girls).
"Symptoms of Duchenne usually appear between ages two and five years and may include difficulty: running, jumping, climbing, and rising from the floor, frequent falls, enlarged calf muscles, toe walking and delays in language development," Save Our Sons' website reports.
"The first muscles affected are those around the hips and upper thigh. Weakness gradually progresses to include all the muscles used for movement (skeletal muscles), the muscles used for breathing and the heart."
Becker muscular dystrophy, however, might not show symptoms until age five. It is caused by an "insufficient amount of the protein called dystrophin in the muscle cell, which causes the muscle to break down over time", Save Our Sons reports.
It occurs in somewhere between one in 18,000 and one in 30,000 newborn boys.
To raise funds and awareness, the Walk 4 Duchenne saw participants travel from the Save Our Sons office in Hurlstone Park, Sydney, on March 17 to Parliament House, Canberra, over a week which was hammered by rain and horrid weather.
But it was still sunny at the start of day two when the crew kicked off their trek from Kyeemagh Beach car park at 9am.
Supported and nourished by the Chemist Warehouse wellness van, the walkers travelled seven kilometres along the Grand Parade, taking in the coastline, then a further five kilometres on to Solander Fields.
Save Our Sons fundraiser Margaret Malouf said a special guest walker joined the group soon after.
"Our walkers popped in to visit the Chemist Warehouse Caringbah Store at the 20.1-kilometre mark, which was a wonderful stop because Australian former professional rugby league footballer Paul Gallen joined us," she said.
"Our team and Chemist Warehouse staff were thrilled to have the former captain and representative of the NSW State of Origin team with us and being a part of the journey.
"A grandmother, Dawn, who has a grandson with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, was also there to support our Walk 4 Duchenne."
Ms Malouf said Save Our Sons founder Elie Eid reassured Dawn that all walkers were 'walking on to help find a cure.
An afternoon downpour struck the walkers, but Ms Malouf said they "valiantly soldiered on".
"They were unstoppable, despite all the additional challenges that came with wet weather and walking in torrential rain," she said.
"Our last stop was Chemist Warehouse Miranda at the 22.6-kilometre mark. We appreciated the generosity of the Miranda staff, greeting and supporting our walkers at the finish line despite the wet.
"The atmosphere was no less dampened with spirits kept high and ready to take on day three."
With the walk coming to a close on Wednesday, met by politicians including Macarthur MP Dr Michael Freelander and McMahon MP Chris Bowen, the Walk 4 Duchenne managed to get their overall fundraising total to more than $150,000.
Donations are still being accepted until March 31 at saveoursons.org.au.
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