Nearly £5,000 has been donated in a day and a half after two young brothers were diagnosed with the same "cruel" incurable genetic disease.

Klara and Nick Taussig, from Epsom, were told on Friday, July 11, that their baby Oskar and their two-year-old son Theo have the muscle-wasting disease, Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

While still reeling from the shock, acclaimed novelist Mr Taussig immediately pledged to do all he can to raise money to find a cure in time to save his boys.

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He has already signed up for the Farnham Pilgrim marathon in September to raise money to fund research into the disease.

Though a fundraising website, he said most children with the disease die in their late teens or early twenties and are in a wheelchair by the age of 12.

He said: "I don't want our boys to die, and I don't want other boys to die from this disease, when there is the real prospect of treatment and cure, if as much money as possible is put into the hands of the world's best researchers and scientists."

Family friend Maxine Slate, 33, said nearly £5,000 was donated towards the research charity, Harrison's Fund, in just a day and a half.

Mrs Slate said: "It’s been upsetting for all of us because we didn’t think for a second this was coming. It’s such a cruel disease. The boys will slowly waste away."

Mr Taussig has written three novels - Love and Mayhem, Don Don and Gorilla Guerrilla - and his wife is a former model and artist.

The family are now seeing doctors, meeting other parents whose children have the condition to find out more about the disease.

Mrs Slate said: "They are trying to find out what is going on. They have got to carry on raising the boys and getting on with life as normal."

On the fundraising website Kevin Smalley said: "So sorry to hear the news Nick, an utterly fantastic cause and best of luck for the marathon. Thinking of you and your family. "

Sarah Coppen said: "I don't know you but I have two boys myself and I can't imagine how you must feel. My heart goes out to your family."

Although girls can carry the disease, its almost always manifests in boys, with 1 in 3,500 boys getting it according to the NHS. Symptoms are usually evident before the age of six.

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