Newcastle United players sign shirts to help boy with rare form of muscular dystrophy

By Katie Dickinson

Newcastle United players have signed two football shirts to help buy specialised equipment for a boy with a rare form of muscular dystrophy.

Austen Brooks-Peddie was diagnosed with a rare condition called Ullrich Congenital Muscular Dystrophy (UCMD) at the age of three in December 2019.

Although the family, from Holystone, North Tyneside, were relieved to finally have a diagnosis, the next year saw Austen’s mobility deteriorate dramatically, partly due to lockdown.

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The five-year-old’s knees and hips are tight so he can’t straighten them fully while the rest of his joints are hypermobile, meaning he is unable to stand upright or walk.

In spite of this, he is a happy little boy who loves superheroes and ninjas like any other boy of his age.

He gets around by shuffling on his bottom, in a powered wheelchair or on his Theraplay adapted trike.

Mum Cherril Brooks-Peddie, 41, a senior compliance officer at a law firm said: “Austen was recently lent an Innowalk, which is a kind of mix between an exercise bike and a cross trainer.

“He loved being about to stand and trying to make it go as fast as possible. Austen’s physio is also worried that he is losing strength in his legs as he uses his wheelchair more and more, and the Innowalk would help him regain this strength too.”

Austen Brooks-Peddie from Holystone, who suffers from Muscular dystrophy (Newcastle Chronicle)

The Innowalk costs £27,000, but will grow with Austen and should last him for many years. They have already raised around £6,000 through donations from friends and supporters, and are gathering items for a raffle to be held at the end of October, which will include a signed NUFC football shirt.

The family has also been given a second signed, framed Duncan Ferguson T-shirt signed by several team members to sell to raise funds, and are currently trying to get it valued. They are planning to run a football scratch card competition for this one towards the end of November.

One friend Adam Pearson, from Silloth is doing a sponsored walk of Hadrian’s Wall in November dressed as Austen’s favourite superhero Ironman (if the weather allows it) and Austen’s family are hoping to take him along to do the last mile or so with him in his wheelchair.

Another friend, Lynsey Scott had pledged to walk 100km this month to raise funds for Austen.

Cherril said: “We are so grateful to everyone who has donated an item or bought a raffle ticket – every penny gets us closer to our goal.”

To donate to Austen’s fund or sponsor Rob, visit https://www.treeofhope.org.uk/austen-brooks-peddie-austensuperpower/

To buy a raffle ticket or to donate an item to the raffle, visit Austen and the Family at https://www.facebook.com/groups/596211658047447

To sponsor Adam, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/austensuperpower

To sponsor Lynsey, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lynsey-scott5

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