A Scarborough woman will hike across the Sahara Desert in memory of a local teenager who died from kidney failure earlier this year.
Stephanie Kirk, of Seamer Road, will battle extreme temperatures to raise money in memory of tragic 17-year-old Joe-Roberts Anderson.
The outpouring of emotion following his death, which culminated in a mass-balloon launch on North Bay beach, moved Miss Kirk to decide to do something in his memory - despite the fact she had never met him.
“I know (his step-mother) Jan, as we were worked together at Yorkshire Coast College, and even though I never got to meet him, I heard so many wonderful things about him,” she said.
“I’ve had a few ups and downs myself in the last few years, and she’s a really good friend who has always been there for me.”
“His family are all great people, and just from looking on Facebook, you just knew he was a great kid.”
She is now already in training for the desert hike, which she will tackle over six days next March.
Once there, she will walk for around eight hours a day in scorching temperatures of around 34 degrees, which regularly drop beneath freezing at night.
With running “not her favourite” form of exercise, the training will consist of a weekly pair of eight-hour walks.
“It pretty much means that I’ll be giving up my weekends from now on,’ said Stephanie, who will be walking the desert with about 15 other people.
“They give you a programme which you are supposed to start about 14 weeks before you go, but I’ve already started.”
Miss Kirk, who works at Yell, is hoping to raise £2,200 for Kidney Research UK. So far she’s raised around 30 per cent of that.
To sponsor her, or to find out more, visit www.kidneyresearchukevents.org/kirksahara