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  • Southside

Mountain run held to raise funds for Debra

Sunday, 19th March, 2017 6:00pm

Story by Neil Fetherstonhaugh
Mountain run held to raise funds for Debra

Tristan McCallum from Ranelagh braves Debra Ireland’s Wicklow Challenge.

Mountain run held to raise funds for Debra

Tristan McCallum from Ranelagh braves Debra Ireland’s Wicklow Challenge.

DUBLIN runners have braved one of Ireland's toughest mountain races to help raise money for people battling the rare and very painful skin condition EB, also known as butterfly skin.

Tristan McCallum, from Ranelagh, was among the 600 runners who joined broadcaster Ray D'Arcy in the Debra Ireland Wicklow Mountain Challenge on March 5.

Debra Ireland supports people living with EB (epidermolysis bullosa), an incredibly painful skin condition that causes the skin layers and internal body linings to blister and wound at the slightest touch.

Runners sporting their Debra Ireland butterfly tattoos chose either a 10.7km route or a half-marathon with long-time Debra supporter Ray D'Arcy opting for the latter.

"Debra Ireland is a great cause and I've enjoyed doing their Wicklow Challenge for a number of years now," said Ray.

"Even though the forecast was terrible, for some reason that little window of three hours every year seems to be glorious.

"While this year wasn't glorious, despite a forecast of hail, rain and wind, the sun did get through the clouds a few times."

Also braving the wet and mucky conditions were Debra Ireland member Mark Hyland whose young daughters, Alison and Erica have EB, and PhD student Jonathan O'Keeffe Ahern who is researching treatments for EB at the Charles Institute of Dermatology, UCD.

"This is what the race is really about, the parents and families whose children have EB and the dedicated researchers who are striving to find a cure," said Mark.

All profits raised from the Wicklow Mountains Half Marathon go directly to the charity.

Debra Ireland was established in 1988 to provide patient support services and drive research into treatments and cures for those living with the genetic skin condition.

Due to the presence of constant wounds, patients with a severe form of EB are susceptible to a very aggressive form of skin cancer, from as early as their teenage years.

Debra Ireland is striving to end this heartache and pain by funding high level research programmes to find treatments and cures for EB and skin cancer.

EB is a classified as a rare disease. An estimated one in 18,000 babies born in Ireland are affected by EB.

Over 500,000 people have EB worldwide.

There are a number of genes associated with the skin that can cause EB if they have a fault in them.

To support the charity contact them at 8 Clanwilliam Terrace, Grand Canal Quay, Dublin 2 (tel: 01 412 6924) or email:

See also their website at for more information.



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