Duchenne UK news

Saracens Rugby Club and Duchenne UK join together to tackle Duchenne muscular dystrophy

England and Saracens fly-half, Farrell backs new partnership with Duchenne UK

Today (Friday 6 September): Ahead of World Duchenne Awareness Day*, Saracens Rugby Club and Duchenne UK announce a new two-year partnership that aims to raise awareness and significant funds to support pioneering research into finding a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD).

DMD is a devastating muscle-wasting disease that currently has no cure.   Around 2,500 boys in the UK are affected by DMD and 300,000 worldwide. The aggressive disease causes total paralysis by the time the boys are teenagers and won’t live beyond their 20s. Duchenne UK is committed to continuing to drive momentum to deliver treatments to help this generation of those with DMD.

Over the next two years, Saracens and Duchenne UK will work together on a number of fund and awareness raising activities including the Gallagher Premiership fixture against Harlequins at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday 28 March 2020.

Duchenne UK and founding partner charity, Joining Jack has a long-standing relationship with Saracens. Owen Farrell has supported the charity personally through his relationship with co-founder and family friends, Andy and Alex Johnson and their son Jack, who has DMD.

Farrell’s iconic celebration sees him create the ‘JJ’ salute, hooking his forefingers to make the initials of Joining Jack - the charity set up by the Johnsons to raise funds for research into DMD. Now merged to form Duchenne UK, the charity has raised over £15m since launching in 2012 and is making huge inroads to finding treatments, but Duchenne still needs support to find a cure and eradicate Duchenne in ten years.

Alex Johnson and Emily Crossley, Duchenne UK co-founders, said:

"We cannot thank the Saracens family enough for the support they have already given Duchenne UK and Joining Jack and we are looking forward to bringing our communities together to tackle DMD.

“We are making pioneering breakthroughs and we are incredibly grateful to Saracens for the opportunity to further help us in our mission to find treatments and a cure for DMD.”

Owen Farrell, Saracens fly-half and England captain, said:

“I’ve been a proud supporter of Joining Jack for over five years now and it is a cause close to my heart. The courage of Jack, Eli and all of the boys with DMD is very inspiring and I’m really happy to see that Saracens are joining forces with Duchenne UK to help tackle this devastating disease.”

Lucy Wray, Saracens board member, said:

“I’m really excited about our partnership with Duchenne UK.  At Saracens, family is at the heart of everything we do. We want everyone that comes into contact with Saracens to feel like they are part of this big family and we extend a very warm welcome to Duchenne and all the families affected by Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

“They are completely passionate and focused on every single pound going on research to find a cure and that’s why we’re so excited to support them in their efforts.”

To find out more please visit: Saracens.com/ Duchenneuk.org

*World Duchenne Awareness Day is Saturday 7 September

To speak to a Saracens or Duchenne UK spokesperson about the partnership, please contact:

Abdullah Mahmood

PR & Communications Manager

[email protected] / 07595517175

Molly Hunt

Head of Communications

[email protected] / 0203 096 7496 / 0781 419 5552


What is Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy?

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is the most common fatal genetic disease diagnosed in childhood. Children born with DMD cannot produce the protein dystrophin which is vital for muscle strength and function. Muscle weakness starts in early childhood. Many use a wheelchair by around the age of 12. As deterioration continues it leads to paralysis and early death, often in their 20s. It almost exclusively affects boys. There is no treatment or cure. In the UK there are around 2,500 boys affected and around 300, 000 worldwide. It is classified as a rare disease.

Who are Duchenne UK?

Duchenne UK is a lean, ambitious and highly focused charity with a clear vision: to fund and accelerate treatments and a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

We are investing millions of pounds in research right now to bring treatments and a cure to help this generation. Duchenne UK is the largest funder of DMD research in the UK. We are also committed to accelerating the pace of research. 90p in every £1 raised is committed to research.

Our president is HRH The Duchess of Cornwall. Our patrons include the broadcasters Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Mary Nightingale, and the sports stars Owen Farrell, Kris Radlinski and Andy Farrell. 

We need your help, because we need to keep funding promising new research.

How to donate?

Duchenne UK is entirely reliant on donations to fund research for treatments and a cure to DMD. This can be done via:

  • Direct Debit – Duchenne Direct
  • Individual Donation – Donate
  • If you are a family or friend affected by DMD you can set up your own fund with Duchenne UK – Family and Friend Funds
  • Take part in one of our fundraising events – Events
  • Text DUCHENNE to 70085 to donate £5. This costs £5 plus a std rate msg.

For more information visit www.duchenneuk.org

Published on 9 May 2019

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