East Lancashire Hospice | Covering Blackburn, Darwen, Accrington and Clitheroe areas

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Diane is in peak fitness

A hit and run victim who had to learn to walk again has pledged to climb 40 peaks before her 40th birthday.

Diane Kennedy, 39, is known as ‘Action Barbie’ to her friends. The mum-of-one would be the first to admit that she is a girly girl but said she doesn’t mind a challenge – as long as she looks her best.

ELH Diane Kennedy 1

She said: “I’ve had lots of uphill struggles so by climbing 40 trig points for my 40thwill be a celebration of how far I’ve come.”

In 2011, Diane’s car was written off when she was left for dead in a hit and run crash. The former fitness instructor broke her pelvis and shattered both kneecaps in the wreck. The exercise enthusiast required numerous surgeries and still has limited feeling in one leg.

“I lost everything as a result of the crash – my job, my house and my mobility. It’s not just the crash itself, it’s the aftermath.”

Diane, who now works in safeguarding. spent five years on her rehabilitation and is now making the most of life.

She said: “My doctor told me I may never run again, but since the crash I have completed several half marathons. I wanted to do something special for my 40ththat shows how far I have come. It seemed appropriate to do something like this.”

The challenge started on 1 January this year with a walk up Pendle Hill with friend and walking guide Mark Billington, who has helped her plan the various routes. She plans to finish the challenge at the top of Scafell Pike, the highest peak in England, before her 40thon 22 June.

The Ossy Joggers member admits: “I like getting dressed up and even carry lip gloss when I’m running half marathons, but many don’t know the struggle I have gone through since the crash.”

Diane plans to tackle hills near to her home like The Coppice in Accrington, Hameldon Hill in Burnley and Darwen Tower, but also further afield like the Old Man of Coniston, Helvellyn, the Yorkshire Three Peaks, Ben Nevis and mountains on the Isle of Skye.

Diane, who used to be the warm-up instructor for some of East Lancashire Hospice’s events, will be raising money for the charity close to her heart. 

ELH Diane Kennedy 6

She said: “My friends think I’m mad. To be told that I might never run again was devastating. I think an experience like that gives you a push to make the most of the things you enjoy.

“I’m not one to sit and dwell on things, but the accident has been a significant part of my life. It has been an uphill struggle but I consider myself lucky to be able to do all this.”

To sponsor Diane, visit www.­justgiving.­com/­fundraising/­diane-kennedy6