Printed in the Liverpool Echo on April 27, 2011.
Friends and family of a Merseyside woman with a rare skin condition are climbing a mountain to raise money for her charity.
Jodi Unsworth, who was born with Congenital Melanocytic Naevi (CMN), will be joined by her dad, sister and a school friend on Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa.
The expedition will raise money for the charity Caring Matters Now, which was set up by Jodi to support families with children suffering from the syndrome.
Jodi, of Rutland Avenue, Halewood, was born with large, dark-brown birthmarks covering 80% of her body and had more than 30 operations as a child while doctors tried to treat the potentially-cancerous marks.
The 30-year-old set up a support group for other sufferers when she was 16 after finding out she was not alone in having the condition.
Jodi, who also works as a fund-raising manager for Christian aid-relief charity Blythswood Care, said: “I saw the celebrity Kilimanjaro climb for Comic Relief on TV and thought ‘if Chris Moyles can do it, so can I!’.”
“I feel very blessed that I have family and friends around me who have supported me all my life, particularly by agreeing to climb the mountain.”
The group of 19 climbers, including parents of children with CMN, will start their eight-day-trek on October 2 and aim to reach the top of the 19,341-foot summit.
They hope to raise more than £2,000 each to help the charity in its work with Dr Veronica Kinsler, a CMN researcher at the Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Among them is dad Joe, sister Mia and friend Jenny Wilson, who has enlisted personal trainer Ben Tranter to help her prepare for the challenge.
The 26-year-old customer services assistant, who has known Jodi for 15 years, said: “ “I am most nervous about altitude sickness!”
Jenny, of Garston, trains at least four times a week by running and weight-training at Lifestyles Garston leisure centre.
She has already raised more than £2,000 for the charity, and hopes to reach £2,430.