Farming family goes the distance to raise over £10k for Huntington’s disease charity

An Armagh family has gone the extra mile by running the Belfast City Marathon to raise more than £10,000 for a local charity that is close to their heart, Huntington’s Disease Association Northern Ireland.

The family, who has been directly affected by the genetic condition, formed a relay team made up of Ivor Haffey, Jessica Haffey, Margaret Allen, Nicole Allen and Alan Hawthorne.

Between them, they raised over £10,200, which will help the charity to deliver support for families living with the disease in Northern Ireland.

Family spokesperson, Margaret Allen, who is Capital Projects Manager at the Mount Charles Group, said: “We are delighted to have raised so much money for such a good cause. I’ve been aware of Huntington’s disease from a very young age as a number of my relatives have been died from it, but it wasn’t until my sister Helen was diagnosed a few years ago that I fully realised the devastating impact that the disease has on those living with the condition.

“The local community has been fantastic and we would like to say a heartfelt thank you to each and every person that supported us. We would also like to thank the Armagh Ulster Farmers Union, suppliers to The Mount Charles Group, Kerry Foods Group and Linwoods who have all played a key part in helping us reach our fundraising total. We are simply overwhelmed by the generosity!”

Errol Walsh from Huntington’s Disease Association Northern Ireland said: “We are thrilled with the level of support we have received from the Haffey family.

“Huntington’s Disease is a rare, inherited and highly complex condition that affects hundreds of people in Northern Ireland. The money raised by the Haffey family will go a long way to help us raise awareness of the condition in Northern Ireland, reduce the stigma attached to the disease and support local families living with it.”

Helen Hawthorne, who suffers from Huntington’s Disease said: “It’s been wonderful to see my family join together to run the marathon and help to raise awareness of Huntington’s Disease. I believe that taking part in the race has made us stronger as a family, with everyone supporting and encouraging each other with their training. I’m pleased that the money we have raised will go some way to help support other families who are going through the same as us.”

Huntington’s Disease, often known as HD, is a hereditary disorder of the central nervous system. It usually develops in adulthood and can cause a wide variety of symptoms including involuntary movements, difficultly in speech and swallowing, weight loss, depression and changes of mood.

For more information on Huntington’s Disease or to make a donation to Huntington’s Disease Association Northern Ireland visit