A SINGLE-PARENT who has a son with an incurable muscle wasting condition has called for better support for disabled children after being left with a logistical nightmare on her school run.

Leanne Gateley’s five-year-old son, Max, who has muscular dystrophy and autism, attends Millwood Primary Special School, close to where the family live in Hutchinson Close, Radcliffe.

After applying for her daughter Amy, aged three, to attend nearby Cams Lane School so that the two can be close together, she was told that her home was 0.03 miles outside the catchment area and rejected.

The decision means that if Amy attends the school where she has been accepted, St John’s C of E, it will mean travelling much further every day.

Ms Gateley, 38, said: “I am now faced with the prospect of having to get Amy to a school which at best is 25 minutes’ walk away, up and down two steep hills in Radcliffe, with a wheelchair, there and back twice a day.

“I will have no other option but to take Amy first and pick her up last. This is completely unacceptable.

“The other option is to take Max first and be late with Amy every day which will ultimately render me in breach of the law.”

In 2013, Ms Gately was told that Max had an incurable muscle wasting condition known as Becker muscular dystrophy, which is closely linked to Duchenne muscular dystrophy which is 100 per cent fatal.

The condition means that there are many occasions when Max must use his wheelchair, which makes mobility over long distances extremely difficult.

Ms Gateley says that she understands that there are laws about catchment areas, and that special provisions are sometimes made, but that in her own case, she feels hard done by and has appealed the decision.

She said: “The support for disabled children is just not there, I feel I am constantly having to challenge everybody and it takes time, which I do not have.

“You expect that after diagnosis that help and support will be there for you but it is virtually non-existent.

“It all just seems unfair when you have a child with a disability, it just makes more work.”

Labour MP for Bury South Ivan Lewis said he sympathised with Ms Gateley and showed support for her appeal.

He said: “I have personal experience of the truly inspirational efforts by local families to give their children with muscular dystrophy the best possible quality of life.

“Too often a combination of Government cuts and a lack of sensitivity leaves families battling a system which should be on their side.

“I hope my support for Leanne’s appeal will ensure the panel alleviates the challenges she and her family face.”

Since Max was diagnosed with his condition in 2013 and autism two years later, a fund aimed at offering support for people with similar issues was set up by Ms Gateley.

The Team MAXimise Potential Family Fund has raised £15,000 to help fund further treatments specifically beneficial to people with the condition.

Robert Meadowcroft, CEO of Muscular Dystrophy UK, said: “Life can often be hard for parents of children with long-term disabling conditions, like muscular dystrophy, but it shouldn’t be.

“Parents can often feel isolated and alone in trying to understand the condition, as well as having to cope with a new and often unexpected diagnosis.

“We want parents to know they are not alone, we are here for them, and will help them fight for what they are entitled to.

“Fundraising by people like Leanne is vital to continuing our work, and we are so grateful for every pound and penny they raise to help in the fight to beat muscular dystrophy.”

For more information about Muscular Dystrophy visit musculardystrophyuk.org.

or for information about the Team MAXImise Potential Family Fund visit www.musculardystrophyuk.org/get-involved/family-funds/funds/team-maximise-potential/