They are Andrew’s Angels, a group from Inverness who have just completed a gruelling 24-hour bike ride from London to Paris to raise funds towards a cure for a paralysing condition that affects mostly boys.
Andrew Matheson, at the age of 75, was the oldest of the 160 riders taking part in the 300km Duchenne Dash and his "angels" from the city were his wife Nadi, son Alex, Michelle Stevens, Jill Laing and Sonia Paterson.
Together they raised £20,000 in support of Duchenne UK. The connection with the charity came about because Andrew is father-in-law to a friend of Emily Crossley, a former reporter and anchor for Channel 4 News and CNN International, who co-founded the charity in 2012 after her son Eli was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. (DMD)
Emily has advocated for patients around the world and spoken many times in the Houses of Parliament.
The trust raised £3.5million in its first three years, and then six years ago started the annual Duchenne Dash, which with big sponsors such as Maserati, brings in millions for research and also raises awareness of the horrible disease. Last year’s Dash raised £1 million.
DMD is an inherited genetic disorder passed on by the mother that leads to progressive muscle degeneration and weakness. Symptom onset is usually between ages three and five and the disease primarily affects boys, although in rare cases it can affect girls.
Sonia, who completed this year’s Loch Ness Etape as part of her training, said: "Every week, two families in the UK are given the devastating news that their son has DMD, and we believe there are at least two cases in the north.
"The Paris dash is to raise money for research and raise awareness. The charity is half way through it’s mission to End Duchenne in Ten.
"The Dash was pretty hard as there is little respite apart from on the ferry. I would say it was probably worse than childbirth, but we all did really well.
"The organisation was amazing and you have to ride in peletons of about 40.
"It was brilliant seeing the Eiffel Tower getting closer and closer and as we rode up the Avenue des Champs-Élysées to the tower it felt as though we were finishing the Tour de France.
"We had VIP treatment and the streets were all closed for us by the police."
Sonia added that Duchenne UK is making huge progress in fighting this number one genetic killer of boys and the funded clinical trials are starting to produce treatments that can slow down the onset of the disease which could buy hundreds of thousands of boys enough time to wait for the more radical treatments and possibly even a cure.
To donate online go to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/DuchenneDash2018