Family fun run will remember Wigan schoolgirl on her 21st birthday

A grieving mum is planning a special event to mark what would have been her daughter’s 21st birthday.

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 4:55 am
Updated Thursday, 17th June 2021, 2:34 pm

Standish High School pupil Jemma-Louise Roberts was 13 when she died in March 2014 from blood infection sepsis.

Her mother Diane Roberts, from Whelley, has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of sepsis and toxic shock syndrome (TSS) to prevent the same tragedy hitting other families.

And she will continue this mission when she holds a family fun run to mark what would have been her daughter’s 21st birthday on Tuesday, July 13.

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Diane Roberts with a photograph of daughter Jemma-Louise Roberts
Diane Roberts with a photograph of daughter Jemma-Louise Roberts

Diane is organising the event at Haigh Woodland Park in support of UK Sepsis Trust.

She said: “It will be a good way to mark Jemma’s birthday. We decided when her friends turned 16 and were leaving school that we wouldn’t do any other fund-raising days and would just raise awareness.

“It helped me doing those events, it gave me something to concentrate on. This is such a big birthday that she’s not here for and it’s given me something to focus on.”

The event was suggested by a friend of Jemma’s named Libby and Diane was able to secure support from Coun Chris Ready and council officers.

Jemma-Louise Rocks For Sepsis Family 5k will begin at 7pm and is open to people of all ages to run or walk a route through the park.

Participants are being encouraged to wear brightly coloured clothes or fancy dress.

Any profits will be given to UK Sepsis Trust and people can also collect sponsorship or make a donation.

While it will be a fun evening, it will also be poignant for Jemma’s loved ones.

Diane said: “Jemma would probably be up there wondering why I’m putting myself through this. I know for a fact though that if the circumstances were different, she would be doing this and be 100 per cent behind it.”

Sign up for the fun run at www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/33400783221

People can also do a virtual 5k if they cannot attend.

Diane also wants to mark the occasion by helping another child celebrate.

She said: “Jemma was such a girly girl and for her 21st birthday I know she would have wanted an all-singing, all-dancing cake, but I can’t do that for her.

“If anyone knows of any little girl with a birthday in July and they are deserving of a cake, then I would like to give one. I can only do it for one person, so I would need to choose someone who is most suitable.”

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