Going 1,000 miles for Ben
STROUD policeman Darren Smith is poised to embark on a 1,000-mile pedal-powered journey, inspired by his seven-year-old son.
Detective Constable Darren Smith will cycle from John O'Groats to Land's End to raise money for JDRF, the diabetes research charity.
Darren started his 1, 070 mile journey in Scotland on Thursday and will be adding to the challenge by climbing Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowden during the 10-day trip.
He's raising money for JDRF after his son Ben, seven, was diagnosed with the condition. "November 30, 2011 is a day I will never forget as our son Ben was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes," said Darren.
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"The diagnosis turned our world upside down, leaving us feeling helpless and lost but we've taken support and guidance from our family, friends and colleagues as well as the team at JDRF.
"JDRF has provided fantastic support to my family. Their research for the future provides hope that, at some point, there could be a cure for Ben and the other 400,000 people in the UK living with type 1.
"As a father, I wanted to do something more to help so I started to plan the ride."
A number of Darren's colleagues in Gloucestershire Constabulary will be joining him for short stints during the challenge.
Darren also aims to stop by police headquarters in Quedgeley on day eight of the ride and will be joined on the last few miles approach to Gloucester by his son Ben.
"I've been really grateful for the support I've received since announcing my plans," said Darren.
"A lot of people have said they're amazed by the number of miles and mountains I'm taking on but, when compared to the bravery Ben has shown, it's nothing.
"I only have to endure 10 days on a bike whereas Ben, who has faced this life-threatening condition with great maturity beyond his tender years, has to inject himself four times a day with insulin as well as conduct his own blood tests.
"He's endured more than 1,000 injections since his diagnosis. That is true bravery and strength, and I couldn't be prouder of him."
Lydia Warrilow JDRF's head of regional fundraising said: "Without these kind acts of courage and generosity we wouldn't be able to obtain vital funds in order to treat, prevent and, one day, find a cure for type 1 diabetes.
"We wish Darren and the team the best of luck with their challenge and would urge people to dig deep and make a donation."
Sponsor Darren on www. just giving.com/Darren-Smith13.