A WOMAN from Cononley who has a form of the illness muscular dystrophy will take to the water this weekend to raise cash for research into the condition.

Hayley Wood has a unique type of mitochondrial myopathy, which is a type of muscular dystrophy.

She explained: "This means that my body cells make less energy than other peoples. It affects every cell in my body, so I have difficulty moving my arms, breathing, eating, seeing, walking. It affects everything I do, and how I do it.

"Muscular Dystrophy UK have been very good to me with help and advice, so I wanted to take the opportunity to help raise funds for research that they are sponsoring.

"I will be kayaking for two miles along the Leeds and Liverpool canal – from Bradley to Farnhill and back – as part of their 'Move A Mile For Muscles' campaign.

"The aim of this campaign is that people will move a total of a million miles altogether this year."

Mrs Wood, 49, aims to carry out the kayak journey on Sunday July 23, weather permitting.

People wanting to support her effort can do so online by visiting justgiving.com/fundraising/hayleysuzannewood

Mrs Wood had to give up work about two years ago.

She is a trained artist and illustrator, and previously taught in special needs education in Skipton for many years.

Mrs Wood's husband, Kevin, said the fundraising kayak would not be easy, though added that his wife was determined to complete the two mile route.

"Although this might not seem a long distance, for someone in Hayley’s condition it is a very, very long way," he said.

"Even walking a third of a mile from our house to the station is a major effort for her.

"I think the return kayak will be the hardest part of it.

"The wind could cause a problem, because even just a few miles an hour does push against the kayak, so we're hoping that the wind speed stays down."

The couple's 15-year-old son Joseph and 13-year-old daughter Emily, as well as Mr Wood himself, will be supporting Mrs Wood on the day by accompanying her along the canal in their own kayaks.

Their original fundraising target was £500, but they have already soared past this objective, and as of Monday this week (July 17) had reached a sum of£690.

Mr Wood, who works as a software engineer, said his wife's condition had progressively deteriorated over a number of years, with its diagnosis hampered by the extremely rare nature of her particular illness.

She receives physiotherapy each week at Airedale Hospital, which is arranged by Manorlands Hospice.