Celebrities rally round three-year-old Brampton boy with rare condition

SCORES of celebrities have donated items to a charity auction to a help a three-year-old boy from Brampton with a rare muscle-wasting condition.

Daniel McLellan has Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy, which causes muscles to waste, as well as progressive stiffness of the muscles around his spine. The condition makes it increasingly difficult for those affected to walk and many children develop respiratory problems as the muscles in their chests weaken. While Dan can walk, he cannot run or jump and he struggles to get up from a seated position.

His parents, Debra and James, are working with the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign to fund research in the hope of developing a treatment.

Mrs McLellan’s brother, Paul Revens, and his wife Angela, from Bury St Edmunds, have a launched an eBay auction of celebrity memorabilia in a bid to raise money for Dan’s Hope – a fund set up by Mrs McLellan to help support a trial of a new drug, which it is hoped might give Dan the chance of walking for many more years.

Items up for grabs in the auction, which ends on December 14, include a signed CD from Eric Clapton, a tennis dress worn by former world number one Ana Ivanovic, original scripts from the ITV drama Downton Abbey, Dr Who and Absolutely Fabulous and signed photographs of Dame Judi Dench, John Travolta, Kylie Minogue and Colin Firth. High Flying Birds and Oasis star Noel Gallagher has donated a T-shirt, bag, diary, CD and signed album artwork to help raise money.

Mrs McLellan said: “As a parent, the one thing you want for your child is to know that they will have a happy, healthy and long life. Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy affects fewer than one in a million children and it was a huge shock to us when Dan was diagnosed. It is a progressive condition, which means that Dan has very weak muscles. At the moment he can walk short distances but falls often and, unless we find a cure, he will never jump or run and he will need help with breathing as the condition starts to affect his lungs. It is heartbreaking to see him watch his older brother and friends running around but Dan always has a cheeky smile and is such great fun. We feel blessed to be his mum and dad. When Paul and Ange offered to set up the charity auction, we thought it was an amazing way to raise awareness and funds. We feel so very lucky to have such a wonderful family and can’t thank them enough.”

Mr Revens said: “When my sister first told me about Dan’s condition, I just couldn’t take it all in. He’s such a lovely, happy, little boy – it is heartbreaking to know that the future may hold very difficult times for him. The strength that Debra and her husband James have shown is incredible and is a complete inspiration. They are already doing so much to try and raise money towards research into Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy - I want to do all I can to help and show them how important they are to me and to my family. Other members of the family are also doing everything they can to fundraise. It’s great that everyone is united to show that little Dan means the world to us all and that we are with him every step of the way.”

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Mrs Cornwell-Revens said: “While our nephew is a very happy, strong-willed boy, he becomes angry and frustrated with his condition and it is absolutely awful to see. I try not to think of Dan’s illness and what his future holds. Instead, I put my emotions and energy into raising money to try and cure his condition. This will only be possible with the support and generosity of the public. I would like to say an enormous thank you to all those celebrities who supported us with donations.”

Charlotte Allen, the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign’s volunteer fundraising manager for the Midlands, said: “We are so very grateful to Debra and her family for all their support. Without people like them we would not be able to continue our vital work finding treatments and ultimately cures for muscle-wasting conditions.

“We really hope the public will support Dan’s Hope and the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign by visiting the auction page which goes live on Monday 5 November. With Christmas just around the corner, it is also a great opportunity to find loved ones a fabulous and unique Christmas present.”

INFORMATION: For details of how to bid, or to view the items up for sale, go to www.facebook.com/danshopepage or the auction page at myworld.ebay.co.uk/dans-hope