Leeds-born TV star Gabby Logan was back in her hometown today to help raise awareness of a genetic condition which affects a close relative.
The sports broadcaster and daughter of former Leeds United hero Terry Yorath visited Fulneck School in Pudsey to help launch a year-long fundraising drive for the Mitochondrial Research Fund at Newcastle University. She was there to support one-year-old Betsy Kay, who was diagnosed at eight weeks with a mitochondrial disorder after doctors discovered she had thickened heart muscle and high amounts of acid in her blood.
Betsy’s grandmother Lyn Kay, who is a nursery nurse at Fulneck and Gabby’s aunt, got in touch with the TV presenter after the school chose the cause as its charity for the year. Yesterday Gabby launched a balloon race on Fulneck’s fields which raised £1,000 and aimed to help spread the word about the condition.
She said: “I am delighted to come to Fulneck School to help Betsy and research into her condition by raising awareness of the Mitochondrial Disease charity. It’s a small step in a long journey of letting people know the importance of supporting such important and lesser known charities.”
At least one in 200 children in the UK are affected by Mitochondrial DNA disease, and while many will be asymptomatic or have mild problems, around one in 6,500 are thought to develop more serious mitochondrial disorders.
Betsy’s mum, Kim Nicholson, of Outwood, Wakefield, said she was grateful to the school and Gabby for the event.
She said: “Hopefully we can continue to hold more events like this to raise funds for research into this condition and raise the profile of the charity.”