By Gary Budzak
Saturday’s second annual DuchenneDash will take place in a new location with a new format.
“Last year, we did it at Griggs (Reservoir), but this year it’s being repaved, so we chose Highbanks Metro Park as an alternate location,” said Kelly Maynard, president of event presenter, the Little Hercules Foundation. “The thing that’s different this year is it’s a dog-friendly event. Dogs will get free doggy treats and we’ll give little prizes for the best-dressed dogs.”
The charity 5K walk-run will take place at 8:30 a.m. July 19, with proceeds going to the nonprofit Foundation’s DuchenneDogs program. The program, to be launched on Aug. 1, will provide financial assistance for children who need a service dog due to their Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
“It’s a disease that takes a seemingly normal boy around the age of 7, and they’re usually in a wheelchair between 10 and 12,” said Maynard, whose 7-year-old son Jackson was diagnosed with the disease two years ago. “We decided this year to make the race a dedicated fundraiser to help families to obtain service dogs for their boys when they’ve lost the ability to walk.”
The service dogs not only provide companionship, but they also assist their owner with tasks many of us take for granted.
“The dogs go to school with them and can help them with everyday activities and help them maintain their independence once they’re in a chair full-time,” Maynard said. She said that the service dogs can often be expensive and not covered by a medical plan.
Duchenne is caused by a defective gene on the X-chromosome, so it primarily affects boys, starting with muscle weakness and eventual paralysis. There is no cure, and it is the leading genetic killer of young boys.
“Our foundation funds research for a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy,” Maynard said. “This is a very expensive disease, and we wanted to help in some way. We see this as a way to serve our community as well as funding research.”
Dash participants will receive a T-shirt, and there will be music and food afterward, Maynard said.
To register for the race, or for more information, visit littleherculesfoundation.org/events.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.