A BIG-HEARTED father-to-be will follow in the footsteps of cycling ace Bradley Wiggins and the stars of English rugby league by doing his bit for a boy with an incurable disease.
Michael Gray hopes to raise hundreds of pounds by having his back waxed at a public showing at Drumlanrig Square beauty salon Bliss a week tomorrow (January 26).
The 39-year-old, who now lives in Livingston, will return to his hometown to undergo the painstaking ordeal to generate publicity for young Jack Johnson and donate money towards research on Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD).
Four-year-old Jack, the son of rugby league legend Andy Johnson, suffers from the condition for which there currently does not exist a cure, and a charity called Joining Jack has been set up in his name. DMD is a wasting disease, with sufferers gradually losing the use of muscles and organs.
The case of Jack struck a chord with Michael, whose wife Karen is expecting to give birth to the couple’s first child on February 1.
“With my kid or anyone’s kid, something could go wrong, and I wanted to do something for Jack,” said Michael. “There are a few forms of muscular dystrophy, but this form is very rare, and there’s no cure.”
A huge fan of rugby league and the team Wigan Warriors, Michael was first made aware of Joining Jack when watching Wigan’s Sam Tomkins celebrate scoring a try against Leeds last year by linking his index fingers to form a ‘JJ’ sign that has become synonymous with the charity. Since then, Bradley Wiggins performed a similar salute on the podium as he was crowned Tour de France champion, and many other rugby league players have followed suit.
“With my wife having a miscarriage in February last year, it just did something that made me think about helping other kids,” recalls Michael. “Jack doesn’t have a clue what’s happening, and I just think it’s a shame for him. If there’s money to be raised that can provide a cure for kids like this in future, I’m only to happy to do it.”
Visit joiningjack.org for more info and donate via www.justgiving.com/michael-gray9