The Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP and The Worshipful Mayor of Epsom, Councillor Chris Frost were on hand last Friday (26 June) to kick start a blue haired Zumbathon to raise funds for Surrey charity, Harrison’s Fund.
The two dignitaries donned blue wigs outside the Clock Tower in Epsom to support the 40 people who took part in the Zumba class as part of the Blue Hair Day campaign.
The campaign is the brainchild of a group of mums, Rachel Hill, 36, Maria Booker 38, and Hannah Robinson, 40, all from Epsom in Surrey, who came up with the idea after learning of the devastating news that their friend’s sons had Duchenne, a form of muscular dystrophy. Klara and Nick Taussig’s boys, Theo, 3, and Oskar, 1, were diagnosed last year on 26 June. The disease is 100% fatal.
The campaign encouraged people to get involved by wearing a blue wig on the 26 June and get sponsored by friends, family or colleagues or just to do something fun wearing your wig and raise money your own way. It has raised nearly £10,000 so far.
Chris Grayling, MP for Epsom and Ewell says: “When I heard about Blue Hair Day, and the fact that it came about via a family, and their friends, in Epsom, I felt compelled to show my support. Theo and Oskar Taussig’s Duchenne diagnosis was devastating for their parents but I was proud to see how much support has been given by the Epsom community. It was great fun seeing the blue haired Zumba event and watching businesses and local people paint the town blue!”
All the money raised from the day will go towards, Harrison’s Fund, which is named after eight year old Harrison Smith from Surrey who was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a fatal genetic condition which affects the muscles, causing muscle weakness.
Alex Smith, Founder of the charity and Harrison’s Dad, took part in the event. He said: “I have known Nick and Klara for a while now, just before their diagnosis, and it’s been an unbelievable journey that we have been on together, watching both of our families go through this. Blue Hair Day is a positive way to mark the 26 June anniversary for them as a day that we remember for brighter, more hopeful reasons.
“It is amazing to think that something which started so small has garnered the support of not only this local community but across the UK and raised an amazing £10,000 so far. This is the first year of the campaign so we are very grateful to everyone who is supporting us by organising or attending a Blue Hair Day event.”
Pic caption: (L-R) Nick Taussig, The Worshipful Mayor of Epsom and Ewell, Councillor Chris Frost, Maria Booker, The Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, Rachel Hill, Hannah Robinson, Alex Smith
For more information: Please contact Sarah Wallace on 07870210025 or [email protected]
Notes to editors
About Harrison’s Fund
Harrison’s Fund was set up in 2011 up by Alex and Donna Smith, in response to their son Harrison being diagnosed with Duchenne, a type of muscular dystrophy. Its aim is to raise money to fund the world’s best researchers, who are working to find a cure for the disease. Duchenne is a fatal neuromuscular condition caused by the lack of a protein called dystrophin which results in progressive muscle weakness. One in 3,500 boys is born with Duchenne muscular dystrophy in the United Kingdom each year. Their average lifespan is just 20 years and it is 100% fatal. Harrison’s Fund is different from many other Duchenne charities out there because it focuses on trying to find a cure for the disease rather than on palliative care. www.harrisonsfund.com
About Duchenne Alliance
Harrison’s Fund is part of the Global Duchenne Alliance, a group of more than 40 international non-profit organisations dedicated to finding treatments for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The charities work together to share knowledge and resources, influence best practice and streamline business to collectively serve the entire Duchenne community. Alex Smith is co-founder of the European arm of the Alliance. www.duchennealliance.org