September 27th, 2016

Barnt Green teen to run half-marathon in grandad’s memory

Updated: 11:15 am, May 07, 2015

A BARNT Green teenager will be running a half-marathon in memory of her grandad and to raise awareness and funds for a charity which supported him while he was alive.

Ruby Hodges, who is 14 and goes to King Edward Camp Hill, will undertake the feat next Saturday (October 12) in Birmingham City Centre in aid of Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) Trust.

Ruby’s grandad John Wharrod passed away on September 17 after suffering with the debilitating MSA for more than ten years. It left him unable to walk, talk and communicate.

Over the years it became harder for him to enjoy what he loved doing, such as socialising with friends, going on holidays and spending time with his family.

MSA, which affects just 3,000 people in the UK, is a progressive neurological disorder affecting both men and women – it damages nerve cells in several areas of the brain which can lead to problems with movement, balance and automatic bodily functions, such as bladder and blood pressure control.

Next Saturday, Ruby will be running alongside her school friend Aoife Hay, her mum Joanna Hodges and a few family friends who are also passionate about raising funds to help combat the disease.

Ruby told The Standard: “I have taken this challenge upon myself because my grandad meant the absolute world to me and I would love the rest of Birmingham to see how awful this disease is and how amazing my grandad was.

“In addition to the fact that hardly any medical knowledge is known about the disease, it also has drastic side effects that can have a lasting impact on not only the patient but the family too.

“It was not only my grandad’s life that the disease ruined – it also had a negative effect on his friends and the rest of the family.”

The MSA Trust provides research and support for the families of sufferers and is also seeking a cure for the condition.

“Because the disease is so unknown, donations are rare and insufficient so my family and I started to fund-raise for the charity at the beginning of this year.” added Ruby.

So far, £2,000 has been raised for the cause from a charity night at the family hotel, Ruby’s parents’ cycle from London to Paris and from donations ahead of the half-marathon.

Visit to boost Ruby’s coffers further.

John Wharrod suffered with MSA. (s)