I was profoundly affected to hear that the founder of Muscular Dystrophy UK charity (MDUK) Lord John Walton had passed away aged 93. Not so long ago (August 2014) we also lost another dedicated member of the MDUK hierarchy Sir Richard Attenborough, our now Honorary Life President of Muscular Dystrophy UK. He tirelessly fundraised and brought many celebrity patrons such as Sue Barker. Both of their incredible, unyielding support for over 52 years was instrumental in getting us to where we are today.
Muscular Dystrophy UK is the charity for the 70,000 people living with 60 different types of progressive muscle-weakening and wasting conditions.
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?”
– Martin Luther King, Jr
Lord John Walton founded Muscular Dystrophy UK in 1959 to fought to find a cure for muscular dystrophy. Untiringly he was determined to improve society’s understanding and awareness of the disease, pioneered revolutionary clinical muscle research and brought the Walton Report to the House of Lords which was a detailed inquiry identifying the many failings in neuromuscular specialist care. Lord Walton was always involved in and supported proposals to improve healthcare for people with muscle-wasting conditions by forming multidisciplinary teams. He was the driving force behind the creation of an All Party Parliamentary Group for Muscular Dystrophy which has made significant changes to Government policy over the decades.
“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”
– Jackie Robinson
I have only briefly met Lord John Walton at the launch of the Walton Report in 2009; he spoke a few words but had such a powerful presence with a brilliant sense of humour. His determination and contribution for more than 5o years to Muscular Dystrophy UK is rather incredible, it displays the amount of love Lord Walton had for humanity. Without his efforts over the decades to improve awareness of Muscular Dystrophy and increase specialist care. I do not think I would be writing this blog or even be alive. The biggest impact MDUK has had on my life is staggering, it rediscovered the confidence that I had lost along with my ability to walk. It expanded my mind to accept my Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, to voice the problems you face constructively and to enjoy life without disability stopping you. To the whole Muscular Dystrophy UK family Lord Walton’s legacy has given us all a better longer future.
“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”
Thank you Lord Walton and Richard Attenborough for your wonderful service and your legacy will always live on in us.
RIP Lord John Walton (16 Sept 1922 – 21 April 2016)