Runner steps up to fight disease

TOUCHED by the story of a man with a frightening disease which caused his skin to fall off, shipping worker Karen Stratford is set to do a fundraising trek.

TOUCHED by the story of a man with a frightening disease which caused his skin to fall off, shipping worker Karen Stratford is set to do a fundraising trek.

Karen, 25, of Cage Lane, Walton, Felixstowe, is to walk the Inca Trail in Peru and is currently training to make sure she is fit for the high altitude event.

She was touched by the plight of Jonny Kennedy, whose suffering from EB - Epidermolysis Bullosa - was highlighted in a TV documentary.

EB, an incurable condition, is a genetic disorder in which the skin can blister and shear off even from the mildest of friction.


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"It was incredible, even the slightest knock and his skin would just literally fall off. In the end the disease turns into terminal cancer," said Karen, who works at Felixstowe port.

"When I saw that programme I just said I am going to raise some money for that appeal - I just knew I had to do something, had to help in some way."

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She has teamed up with the charity DebRA UK which works to raise money to fund research for a cure to EB and the group is helping to arrange the trip to Peru.

So far Karen has raised £2,600, some of which will pay for the trip and the rest will go to the charity. She has taken part in the Felixstowe fun run, the abseil down the maternity block at Ipswich Hospital, held raffles, collected outside Pals in Ipswich dressed as a cavewoman, and done sponsored "dares".

She has also received sponsorship from Felixstowe Lions, her sister Sharon, her employers Allport, the 129 Café Bar, and Brinor Freight.

"I have received some wonderful help and sponsorship - people have been tremendous and I really thank them all for what they have done," she said.

She sets off on the ten-day trip on October 1 and is currently walking, swimming and cycling miles for her training regime.

She expects the conditions to be hot and to be walking seven to 11 hours a day, depending on the itinerary, with most of the trek at high altitude.

"It is going to be a great experience and I am really looking forward to it and just want to raise as much money as I can," she added.

n Anyone who would like to sponsor Karen can contact her on 01394 608560.

WEBLINK: www.debra.org.uk

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