Mum’s 100-mile walk for cause close to family’s heart

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A Hastings mum is walking more than 100 miles in a month to raise awareness and find a cure for her son’s life-limiting condition.

Jo Barry took on the challenge in order to shed light on Scleroderma, a disease which causes hardening and scarring of the skin and attacks healthy tissue in the body. The money raised from her walk will go towards Scleroderma and Raynaud’s UK (SRUK).

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Jo’s son Mathew, 18, is currently battling the rarest form of the condition which attacks his internal organs.

Mat has lived with scleroderma since he was nine years old, going through hospital admissions and surgery over the last decade.

Jo, of Pett Road, said: “Since diagnosis the most difficult thing to come to terms with is the fatigue. I have a teenage boy who goes out with his friends and then takes two days to recover.

“He spent most of secondary school only doing four days a week due to fatigue. I was so proud when he got six GSCEs at the end of school.”

To support for her son and everyone fighting the condition, Jo has been walking on average 3.33 miles a day throughout June, which is Scleroderma Awareness Month. She added: “If I can raise some funds and awareness along the way that would be great. I’m doing it for all the other scleroderma sufferers throughout the UK, we need to find a cure now.”

Last Sunday (June 24) Jo was joined by chief executive of SRUK, Sue Farrington, on her journey through Rye Harbour Nature Reserve.

Sue said: “It was great joining a 6.6 mile walk along Rye Harbour Nature Reserve as part of Jo’s 100 mile walk to raise much needed funds for research and support people for Scleroderma and Raynaud’s. None of our work would be possible without the amazing fundraising efforts of people like Jo.”

Amy Baker, head of Engagement and Development at SRUK, said: “We are funded entirely on donations and fundraising and so without supporters donating and taking on challenges like this, we would not be able to continue our life-changing work.

“To date SRUK has invested over £10 million into research and every penny of this has come from our wonderful supporters.”

To donate, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/joanna-barry1.

For more information, visit www.sruk.co.uk.

Words by Jess Reid