The North Pole was reached in April 2002 and the South Pole in January 2004 – in so doing, Michael made history by becoming the first disabled person in the world to have successfully led expeditions to both Poles. What makes this achievement all the more remarkable is that in 1984, aged just 18yrs, Michael was himself diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy, following a consultation with the now retired and world leader in his field, British neurologist and professor emeritus at Imperial College London, Victor Dubowitz. His team at that time included a young Francesco Muntoni at the Hammersmith Hospital in London. Today, Professor Francesco Muntoni is a leading Paediatric Neurologist and the director of the Dubowitz Neuromuscular Centre, a leading clinical and research institution for children affected by neuromuscular disorders base at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London.
The charity was first known as ‘pole2pole’ before being later renamed ‘The Muscular Help Foundation’ and then finally ‘The Muscle Help Foundation‘. Learn more about the charity’s impact, the team and its current Trustee Board and do also find out more about our work & governance, Trustees, financial history, accounts & annual returns, our governing document & of course key contact information on the Charity Commission’s website.
Shared experiences can be powerfully transformative in nature – MHF delivers what it calls Muscle Dreams for children, young people and young adults (8-28yrs) in the UK with the muscle wasting disease, Muscular Dystrophy (MD) and allied neuromuscular conditions. These highly-personalised, restorative experiences are uplifting, joyful and often cathartic in nature. See testimonials from some of our beneficiaries, families, volunteers and also special messages of support from Lorraine Kelly CBE, Sir Kenneth Branagh (an MHF Patron) and Sir Richard ‘Dickie’ Attenborough to name a few.
MHF is a small, multi award-winning, family-centred charity (entrenched in family values) with national reach – currently, it employs one full-time paid member of staff. It has a singular focus to deliver 657 Muscle Dreams, that’s one life-changing experience for every muscle in the human body.
Anchored at the heart of MHF’s work is a unique initiative designed to allow anyone to quickly grasp, support and champion our work – learn more about the #powerof657 and how you can get involved by either fundraising for us, joining our Muscle Warrior tribe as a volunteer or becoming a strategic corporate partner.
MHF’s impact continues to be felt across the UK by beneficiaries, families, their friends and the wider community including for example schools. The charity has established friendships and partnerships with other muscular dystrophy charities across the UK such as Duchenne Family Support Group (DFSG), Spinal Muscular Atrophy UK, the Eileen McCallum Trust, DMD Pathfinders Neuromuscular Alliance, Action Duchenne, Duchenne UK and Muscular Dystrophy UK.
Our CEO Michael McGrath who used to be a Trustee for Muscular Dystrophy Campaign (now known as Muscular Dystrophy UK), has over several years personally visited many UK hospices that are directly involved in providing both respite and also end of life care for those with muscular dystrophy – these include: Acorn’s Children’s Hospice, Hope House Hospice, Chestnut Tree House Hospice, The J’s Hospice, Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young, Keech Hospice, Naomi House & Jack’s Place Hospice, Shooting Star Children’s Hospices, Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice and Ty Hafan Children’s Hospice to name a few.
MHF is a member of Together for Short Lives, a leading UK charity for children with life-threatening & life-limiting conditions. The charity is also a member of the Fundraising Regulator, Stewardship (helping the Christian community in the UK to give & to receive), the Disabled Children’s Partnership (DCP), the UK Genetic Disorders Partnership Network via Genetic Disorders UK (national charity working to improve the lives of individuals and families living with a genetic disorder) and Genetic Alliance UK (consisting of over 200 patients organisations working to improve the lives of patients and families affected by all types of genetic conditions).