Why these women are walking from Ipswich to Southwold

Cousin Rebecca with sisters Sarah and Chloe

Cousin Rebecca with sisters Sarah and Chloe - Credit: Chloe Etherington

A woman with Multiple Sclerosis, her sister, their mum and cousin are taking on a huge 100km walk from Ipswich to the east coast of Suffolk this summer.

Sarah Doherty lives in Ipswich with her husband Darren and their son Alfie, and was diagnosed with MS in May 2015.

Sarah Doherty was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in May 2015

Sarah Doherty was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in May 2015 - Credit: Sarah Doherty

It began with optic neuritis, where she experienced sight loss twice before the cause was revealed. She now has different symptoms which flare up for several weeks at a time.

The mum gets crushing fatigue, as well as a loss of feeling in her legs which can go numb after movement.

However, she loves HIIT training and will soon begin a 12-week programme in preparation for Sandlings Coastal Walk in June, which they will complete over the course of two days.

The route begins in East Ipswich, 94km away from the finish line in Southwold - and the four women will be adding on another 6km to make it to 100km.

The group — including sister Chloe, mum Fiona and cousin Rebecca — are raising money for MS Society which helped support the 26-year-old after her diagnosis, having previously fundraised for MS Trust. 

Mum Fiona with daughters Sarah and Chloe

Mum Fiona with daughters Sarah and Chloe - Credit: Chloe Etherington

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"I don't think we quite know what we've signed up for here," Sarah said.

"But we are very determined and as soon as I saw it I knew I wanted them to do it with me.

"I'm most worried about my legs going weak but if I can make it to the end without moaning I'll be happy."

The family are a chatty and say people struggle to get a word  in edgeways, guaranteeing the challenge will be far from boring.

The Ipswich group of four, Rebecca, Fiona, Sarah and Chloe, are taking on the walk to Southwold in June

The Ipswich group of four, Rebecca, Fiona, Sarah and Chloe, are taking on the walk to Southwold in June - Credit: Chloe Etherington

Sister Chloe Etherington says Sarah has always been an adventurous and bubbly person and will be putting her mind to the task ahead.

"None of us have ever done anything like this before," she said.

"But we are a really close family and share a very close bond, our cousin Rebecca is Sarah's best friend and we all live near each other.

"She's got all the gear and her training planned so she just needs us there with her."

To donate to the MS Society fundraiser, click here.

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