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Thursday, 02 October 2014

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Millom mum fights back from pain to tackle fundraising hike

AFTER years of agonising pain a community-minded mum is hoping to banish her demons as part of a sponsored walk.

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KAREN JACKSON-SMITH

Karen Jackson-Smith, of Park Road, Millom, has organised a hike up the imposing Black Combe on Sunday to raise money for local charity Project Bundies.

The project was born after a group of youths built makeshift ramps in a disused factory in Devonshire Road.

With the help of parents and other adults led by Andrea Crawford, 32, the project has now grown into a youth club registered as a small charity.

The group is aiming to find new premises after the owners of the factory boarded it up – and is aiming to raise £6,000 to find a new home.

Mrs Jackson-Smith, whose son Joe Jackson-Smith, 13, is a member of the Bundies, said as well as benefiting the group the walk represents a personal challenge.

“I want to complete this challenge. Six years ago I would never dreamed of trying something like this. I had very reduced mobility for many years.”

Mrs Jackson-Smith said her problems started 11 years ago after a sudden bereavement.

“I had mild arthritis anyway but I lost my mum, June Jones, very suddenly in 2002. It made my condition much worse and I suffered with fibromyalgia – I was in absolute agony,” she said.

According to Arthritis Research UK, fibromyalgia can occur in arthritis patients who suffer a traumatic experience – such as bereavement – and causes widespread muscle pain and sensitivity to pressure.

Ironically it was another loss, her father Joe Brookes, which jumpstarted her recovery.

“I lost my dad in 2008 and then I just felt ‘life’s too short,’ and I started to get better. Somebody came up to me recently and said they used to see me hobbling around on a stick but I am able to do much more now.”

Around 25 people are currently signed up for the walk, although anyone interested is welcome to join.

Mrs Jackson-Smith said: “We just felt that we didn’t want to sit on our backsides waiting for grant applications, we wanted to get out there and get a sweat on to raise some money.”

If anyone is interested in joining the walk they can call Mrs Jackson-Smith on 01229 770546, Andrea Crawford on 01229 778847, or Joanne Loudon on 07548 486698.

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