Charity champion

December 06, 2005 ,

THE new Conservative Party leader, David Cameron, and I have something in common.

Last year he won the epolitix.com Disability Charity Champion Award at Westminster.
This is an award voted on by parliamentarians in recognition of the work done by MPs and Peers on behalf of charitable institutions.

This year I was nominated for the same award, and I was delighted to win it at a ceremony in Westminster.

The nomination came from the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign for the work I did with them and others to raise awareness of this terrible disease.

I originally got involved when Nick Catlin came to my constituency surgery with his wife Janet and his son Saul in 1998.

They explained to me what Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy meant for Saul.
He would be wheelchair bound by his teens, and would probably not see his 21st birthday.

They asked me to join the All Party Parliamentary Muscular Dystrophy Group, but as I soon found out there wasn’t one, so I set one up.

The Group along with Nick’s charity Parent Project UK, the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign and others have worked to raise the awareness of the disease to other parliamentarians.

As a result of the Group’s work a consortium of scientists managed to secure £1.6m of funding from the Government’s Genetics White Paper.

My greatest hope for the future is that our campaign will be an important step on the road to a cure.

When David Cameron won the award last year he said that it was his proudest political achievement to date; a sentiment I totally agree with.

I'm not expecting to follow in David Cameron's footsteps by becoming leader of my party in the next 12 months, but I am equally honoured to receive this for everyone campaigning on behalf of people with muscular dystrophy.