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Irish singer Keith Duffy from Boyzone is to run the London Marathon this year to raise money for the National Autistic Society (NAS) and Special Provision for the Education of Autistic Children (SPEAC).

“I’m really excited to be running for the NAS,” said the actor and singer, whose daughter, Mia, has the condition. “As the parent of a child with autism, I know what a difference the right support can make. I was fortunate enough to be in a position to get Mia the support she needed, but many other families aren’t so lucky.”

Duffy spoke to the BBC about his experiences in raising his daughter as part of the Cause Celeb series, in which stars talk about issues close to their heart.

“It was very difficult and was a strain on our relationship,” he said. “You go into denile… [you say] ’You’re wrong, there’s nothing wrong with my child’.”

Mia is now 9 and has been placed into a mainstream school through Applied Behavioural Analysis, a specialised individualised program in which major goals are broken down into smaller achievable ones.

The London Marathon takes place on April 26. To watch Keith Duffy talk about how he coped when his daughter was diagnosed with autism, click here.

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