Charity bike trek in Amy’s memory

Charity cyclist Mark Lownes is riding almost 150 miles to raise awareness of a rare disease in memory of his “lovely” sister.

The Ackworth man will lead a team of eight people on the coast-to-coast route from Cumbria to Sunderland in a bid to boost the coffers of charities which help patients with the hormonal disorder Addison’s disease as well as diabetes.

His sister Amy Stephenson had both conditions and died, aged 25, after developing pnuemonia in December 2007.

Mark, of Pasture View, said: “Amy was lovely. She had both diabetes and Addison’s disease but it was the latter which weakened her.

“It’s a very rare disease that not a lot of people know about so I am trying to raise awareness as well as money.”

Determined Mark, 41, has already collected about £900 in sponsorship and is hoping to smash his team target of £1,500 before they set off on the three-day challenge on July 16 – Amy’s birthday.

Businesses including his employer Hermes, Wakefield Wildcats and retail giant Next have supported him so far.

Lorry driver Mark added: “I’m delighted with how the fundraising is going, the help we’ve had has been unbelievable.

“Hermes gave me £500, Next donated a bike and the Wildcats gave a signed shirt with family tickets for me to auction – I really appreciate every boost to the cause.

“We are still looking for sponsorship and raffle prizes to auction so we can beat our target.”

The money raised will be donated to the Addison’s Disease Self Help Group and Diabetes UK.

Anne Rowe, regional fundraising manager for Diabetes UK, said: “It is fantastic that Mark and his friends are showing their support.

“We hope that they will enjoy taking part in the challenge and inspire others to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.”

To help visit marklownes or telephone 07966 000719.

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