DANIEL Treacher is just five years old, but last year he was diagnosed with duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), which means he will be wheelchair-bound by the time he is 12 and is unlikely to live past his early twenties.
A kind-hearted friend of Daniel's mother has agreed to swim a mile every hour for 24 hours tomorrow (Saturday) to raise funds to help the charity, Action Duchenne, find a cure for the disorder.
Daniel lives with his mum, Susanne, his dad, Phil, and his brother, James, six, in Glebe Avenue, South Ruislip.
Mrs Treacher, 33, said: "We went to the health visitor last August saying we had bought Daniel a bike and he couldn't ride it because he kept falling off.
"Hillingdon Hospital did blood tests and one of the tests came back too high.
"They sent us off to Hammersmith Hospital and they said they thought he had DMD.
"It was pure chance that we went to the health visitor. I had never heard of DMD before. We just thought he was clumsy.
"We read on the internet about the symptoms and to hear that your son is going to be in a wheelchair by the time he is nine or 10, and is unlikely to live past his early twenties came as a shock.
"The doctors have said they need to see how he progresses but it will get worse, it's just a case of when.
"He is such a happy little boy and is always smiling. I can't imagine that in a few years time he is not going to be able to walk."
Mrs Treacher asked her friend, Graham Hardie of Moorcroft Lane, Hillingdon, if he would take part in the swimathon and he said yes.
She said: "The charity doesn't get a lot of funding from the government and they need that extra little bit to help get it into the research labs.
"Hopefully if they can do that Daniel won't die.
"I am just overwhelmed that Graham has agreed to do it. It's a tough thing he is doing and when you think how far a mile is and how long it's going to take it means so much.
"I just feel he is putting himself through it all for me."
Mr Hardie, 39, said: "I have been training almost every day since the start of August.
"The hardest point will be when we start to get into the evening because at that point you are into double figures.
"I used to swim quite a lot but in the last 10 years I haven't done much.
"I'm doing it for Daniel and all the others who are like him. Anything we can do is a bonus for these guys."
Mr Hardie is aiming to raise £5,000 and his employer, Microsoft, have said they will match whatever he raises.
To sponsor Mr Hardie for the event 2swim4life, which is being held at High Wycombe Sports Centre, go to www.justgiving.com/2swim4life_gh