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Walmer Bridge mum taking on 3000 mile walking challenge for Diabetes UK

Jenna Smith, 36, and 12 friends have already raised over £2,000 as they walk the distance to Benidorm and back throughout March, to increase awareness of type 1 diabetes in memory of Jenna's sister.

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Mum-of-two Jenna lost her sister, Marie, to the condition in October 2018 and they’re taking on the challenge to celebrate what would have been Marie’s 32nd birthday in April.

Jenna said: “Marie was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was just 15 years old and it was incredibly difficult for her to cope with. I know that a lot of people find it hard to manage their diabetes, so I hope that through raising awareness and supporting Diabetes UK we can help other people who may be struggling too.”

Marie, 29, passed away as a result of diabetic ketoacidosis, a complication of type 1 diabetes caused by a severe lack of insulin in the body.

Jenna added: “The past few years have been really tough but I have the most amazing group of friends, and this year we wanted to do something to celebrate Marie. As a group we’ve had lots of holidays together in Benidorm and some great memories of Marie there with us too, so it seemed like the perfect challenge. She would have loved that we’re doing this and the fact that it will help other people with diabetes too.”

The team, who have been completing the distance in pairs due to the current lockdown, have already covered 930 miles between them and are on track to reach their 3000-mile target at the end of the month.

Jenna said: “It would have been nice if we could have walked the distance at the same time but doing the challenge has been a way to bring us together when we have to be apart. We’re constantly sharing updates with each other and adding our miles to the group tally. It’s been tough but a lot of fun too.”

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