By Betsy Everett
Nine-year-old Ruby Cumpstone turned three Dales schools bright orange for a day to raise money for, and awareness of, the muscle disease that is progressively disabling her young cousin.
Ruby, who lives in Bainbridge and attends Askrigg Primary School, told fellow pupils that it cost £50 an hour for research into the 60 different strains of muscular dystrophy that affects 70,000 children in the UK alone.
Cousin Daniel Lewins, four, who lives in Leeds, has a rare collagen-related form of the disease and will never be able to walk, run, swim or play with other children.
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Heather Cumpstone, Ruby’s mother, said that ever since Ruby had heard about Daniel’s illness she had wanted to help. Her chance came last Friday, declared Orange Day by Muscular Dystrophy UK, to raise awareness of the crippling illness.
“Daniel is a bright, lively little boy, but he is in a wheelchair as he isn’t able to walk or bear any weight on his legs. He had lumbar punctures and was eventually diagnosed with muscular dystrophy when he was three. It devastated his whole family, including ourselves, and we know it will only get worse as he gets older,” said Heather.
Charlotte Harper, executive head of Askrigg, Bainbridge and West Burton schools, supported her request for an Orange Day in the three schools, and in just a few hours they had raised £150.
“I wasn’t sure what the response would be, but it was amazing,” said Heather. “Whatever problems rural schools may be facing, something like this just shows what a strong and supportive community we have. We are so grateful to everyone , especially the children who created a sea of orange in all three schools. It was as much about raising awareness of the disease as raising money and I think Ruby helped to do both.”