Walk 4 Duchenne aims to raise more than $1 million in 2019

People from all walks of life unite to help find a cure for a severe disease impacting males.

Home and Away star Lynne McGranger admits she was stopped in her tracks when she met young Duchenne muscular dystrophy sufferer Emilio Eid, then aged five, at a charity gala nine years ago.

“I’d gone with (fellow star) Ada Nicodemou and met Emilio and some of his friends, and they had such an enormous impact on me,” says the actress, who plays Irene Roberts in the popular soapie.

“To see these boys in their wheelchairs and to know that they might not be around next year or the year after, my heart just broke for them and their families,” Lynne says.

“All of the kids and parents were so passionate and determined about beating the disease, they had so much love and hope – I wanted to help.”

A severe muscle-wasting disease, Duchenne affects one in 3500 boys and on rare occasions, girls.

It is the number one genetic killer among young boys in the world and there is no cure.

After that first meeting, Lynne became one of a number of celebrity ambassadors for the Save Our Sons charity, established by Emilio’s inspiring father, Elie, in 2008.

Lynne says she is desperately hoping her filming schedule will allow her to join the organisation’s 2019 Walk 4 Duchenne in March.

Led by Elie and supported by family, friends and those affected by the condition, the trek will cover 172km across Sydney in six days.

Along the way, walk participants will visit 10 schools attended by children with Duchenne to help raise awareness and much-needed funds.

“We’re kicking off at the Hurstville Station Interchange Reserve on March 4 and planning to finish at Emilio’s school, Holy Spirit Catholic College in Lakemba, on March 9,” says Elie, who will push Emilio in a wheelchair on the marathon journey.

Proceeds will go towards clinical trials and funding specialist Duchenne nurses in children’s hospitals, as well as life-enhancing equipment such as standing wheelchairs and cough assist machines.

“You get the feeling the victory line is in sight, there will be a cure, we just need to keep going,” Lynne says.

“These kids really deserve that.”

The 2019 Save Our Sons Charity Gala will be held at Crown Palladium, Melbourne, on Saturday, March 23. Get your tickets.

save our sons gala
Lynne McGranger with Amanda Keller and Prue MacSween at the Save Our Sons Duchenne Foundation Gala Dinner.

Written by Liz McGrath.