A DAD whose four-year-old son has a terminal muscle wasting disease is taking on a 250-mile cycling challenge to raise funds to help find a cure.

Rich Binns, who is formerly of Hoole and now living near Malpas, hadn't ridden a bike for seven years but was determined to do something positive after his youngest child Jack was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD).

The rare genetic disease, which almost always affects boys and has an estimated 300,000 sufferers worldwide, causes the muscles in the body to become weak and damaged over time, and is eventually fatal with the average life expectancy just 26 years of age.

Those with DMD usually lose the ability to walk by their teenage years and require a wheelchair, before eventually becoming paralysed.

But Rich, who works for construction firm Sir Robert McAlpine, hopes his son will one day benefit from clinical trials taking place around the UK to find a way of slowing down the effects of the disease.

This is why the 43-year-old is raising funds for the research and development of these treatments, as well as efforts to ultimately find a cure. So far he's amassed nearly £8,000.

Rich was originally meant to tackle the annual Duchenne Dash – a gruelling 24-hour bike ride from London to Paris – with his brother-in-law, but it was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Instead, the pair are doing the Duchenne Dash at Home which has seen Rich cycle 300km during May before completing a further 100km on June 13 – the day they should have arrived in Paris.

Rich, who with his partner Jill have two other children – George, 20, and seven-year-old Olivia – said: "Duchenne is a very rare and desperately cruel terminal muscle wasting disease which currently has no cure. Duchenne UK are looking at treatments that can help kids now to slow the disease down and also a cure.

"The charity has been fantastic and has supported us from the very start. I hadn't ridden a bike for seven years but since January I've got myself up to quite a good fitness.

"It's helped me too. It's given me something positive to focus on. It's the only thing I can do to help Jack. It's not like he needs a kidney and I can give one to him.

"The world doesn't even have a cure, never mind his dad. It's the least I can do. We're currently shielding because we don't know what impact Covid-19 might have on Jack's lungs.

"Luckily where I live I can cycle down country lanes and not see anyone. On June 13 – the day we should have arrived in Paris – I will cycle 100km but do a route which keeps passing my house so I can fill my drinks bottle up rather than using a shop and interacting with the public."

Jack was diagnosed at Liverpool's Alder Hey Children's Hospital in November last year after Rich and Jill had initially taken him to the doctors believing he had an issue with his hip.

Rich said: "Our interpretation was that he had a problem with his hip. We could see he was struggling to lift his right leg up the stairs. He would always use his left.

"It looked like it was a hip issue so we took him to the doctors and he was referred to see a physiotherapist. She could tell in the first five minutes that it wasn't his hip.

"The first thing she asked was 'has he had any blood tests?'. I asked why would he as we thought there was something physically wrong. Jill asked more about it and we were told about the possibility of muscular dystrophy.

"Jill looked it up on the internet and word for word the description for Duchenne was Jack. I'd never heard of it before, Once it was confirmed my thoughts were how long have we got with him? How were we going to tell his brother and sister?

"I was off work for a month on compassionate leave whilst we came to terms with it and journeyed back and forth to Alder Hey. I wouldn't say it's got easier but we've accepted it.

"We were never in denial because we took him to the doctors as we knew there was a problem. We're now working to come to terms with the future.

"Our house has three floors so we're going to have to move in the next couple of years because Jack will eventually require a wheelchair. We need something which we can adapt."

To support Rich and his brother-in-law you can donate at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/richardbinns