Claire and Jon Howard, Lucie Wilson, Hannah Campbell and Gemma Harby are planning a range of fundraising events this year to support the work of Diabetes UK in memory of their friend who died suddenly last year.
Beryn Lees, 27, from Easton on the Hill, in Northamptonshire, passed away in June last year after complications related to her Type 1 diabetes.
Beryn’s death has left her family and friends devastated and, spurred on by their determination to raise awareness and understanding of the condition, they have decided to support Diabetes UK’s vital work.
Jon, who is going to run in this year’s London Marathon on Sunday April 23, said: “I didn’t really know what diabetes was until June last year. Beryn, who was my wife’s best friend, was diagnosed when she was three years old.
“She never looked ill and did everything my wife did and I assumed it was an easy condition to live with, but then I took a phone call and everything changed. Beryn had slipped into a coma caused by hypoglycaemia during the night and died shortly afterwards."
Beryn had just bought her first home, in Wittering, before she died and she worked as a cover supervisor at Casterton College, Rutland. Before Jon runs the 26.2 mile course, Beryn’s friends held a Valentines Dance in Bourne, in February.
Beryn was loved by all, and her family and friends struggle every day to cope with the loss of such a person. Her wicked sense of humour, her thirst for life and her wonderful personality has left a void in many lives. Put simply we need to find a cure and we will do all we can to help.
The friends have a host of events in the pipeline for later in the year including a sponsored tandem bike ride, coffee mornings and non-uniform days.
Jon added: “People just don’t understand the seriousness of the condition. We all need to pull together and further our knowledge.”
Rachel Mann-Bradbury, Diabetes UK East Midlands fundraiser, said: “We are so grateful to Beryn’s friends who have joined forces to raise vital funds for us in her memory.
“Every penny raised will help us to support the millions of people living with diabetes in the UK and help us invest more into vital research so please give generously to back their amazing effort.
”24,000 people with diabetes die before their time each year and we are committed to reducing this figure and ultimately finding a cure.”