A FAMILY has set up a charity to support a young member who has been diagnosed with a muscle wasting disease.
Ben Booth, 19, has been diagnosed with Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy type two –and his family has set up the B Baggins Foundation to raise money to support sufferers, as well as pay for research into a cure.
Ben, of Lumb Lane, Roberttown, was a talented rugby union player but his condition has meant he has had to give up the sport.
He is now studying electrical engineering at Huddersfield University.
He said he started to show symptoms about a year ago, and was eventually diagnosed with the condition last month.
He said: “At the moment it just affects the way I walk. I can’t run and it’s very hard getting up stairs or any sort of incline.
“In the future I’ll be wheelchair-bound and it will have to be an electric one because it will affect my arms.
“I was upset at first but there’s nothing I can do – I like to think I am quite a positive person so I am just getting on with it.
“I am looking on the bright side and just getting on with my life. I’m just happy to have my family around me who are willing to help and support me.
“The doctors can’t predict what’s going to happen in the future. They say the best they can do is plan and hope I can walk for as long as possible.”
Foundation supporters have already been organising events to raise money. Members have collected 90kg of drinks cans to weigh in, some supporters are cycling in the Scottish lochs and a family member is running a marathon in Cyprus. Ben’s older brother Sam is shaving his head for a year and hopes to raise £800.
And on Easter Sunday 30 supporters, including some of Ben’s former school friends from the Mirfield Free Grammar School, took part in the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge, raising more than £3,000.
Ben said: “The walk was difficult – the weather got worse and by the second peak it was awful.
“But I’m quite impressed that I managed to do it.”
Ben’s aunt, Carole Jackson, said: “I had not appreciated just how dangerous this challenge was. We had participants falling into bogs up to their waists and someone losing the bottom of a walking boot.
“Ben completed two of the three peaks in seven hours. It was inspirational to see him and his determination pushed us all on to do more.”
For more information on the B Baggins Foundation visit www.bbaggins.org or search B Baggins on Facebook.