The Duchenne Research Fund raised £1.2 million at its ‘The Time Is Now’ Gala Dinner on 5 May at the Lancaster London Hotel to help find a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy – the biggest genetic killer of children worldwide.

The funds raised will enable the DRF to continue its exceptional work in funding research into treatments for this devastating muscle-wasting disease, which claims the lives of hundreds of thousands of boys by their mid-to-late twenties.

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‘The Time Is Now’ theme explored the myriad scientific breakthroughs that – with sufficient funding – will enable boys to live with Duchenne rather than die too young too soon.

In his keynote address, world renowned genetic researcher and head of the DRF’s Scientific Advisory Board Dr Ronald Cohn (pictured top right) left the 740 guests in no doubt that finding effective treatments was now within reach.

Dr Andrey Zarur, Founder and Chairman of Boston-based Solid Biosciences, lauded the DRF’s role in seed funding the biotech company’s ground-breaking gene therapy project for treating Duchenne patients. Robyn Pete, whose four-year-old son Felix has Duchenne, spoke of the hope the DRF has provided to newly diagnosed families. TV and radio presenter Clive Anderson kept guests entertained as he hosted the charity auction.

DRF Chair of Trustees Simon Kanter said: “We hugely appreciate the incredibly generous support and encouragement of our guests and donors. On behalf of all the trustees I would like to acknowledge the untiring care and effort undertaken by the Dinner Committee led by chairs Jackie and Jeremy Benjamin and Dalia and James Young. The commitment of the brochure and auction committees also made huge contributions to a very successful evening. As a direct result and with thanks and appreciation to all, we were able to exceed our fundraising target of £1m.”

DRF Co-Founders Kerry and Doron Rosenfeld (pictured with Dr Cohn), who made the appeal, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the response to the dinner, not just financially, but in every way. The outpouring of emotion and the expressed desire to assist the DRF, even from people previously unknown to us, is truly exceptional.”

Photo credit: Jeremy Coleman