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Marika Timmins completes Walk of Hope at Rutland Water for Leprosy Mission's Anandaban Hospital in Nepal

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A twelve-year-old girl has completed a six-mile walk to raise money for The Leprosy Mission.

Marika Timmins, who attends Bourne Grammar School, completed the‘Walk of Hope’ around the undulating Hambleton peninsula of Rutland Water on Saturday (April 30).

Marika and a team of 13 others raised £1,200 towards building a new research centre at The Leprosy Mission’s Anandaban Hospital in Nepal.

It will replace an old and unfit-for-purpose lab next to the leprosy hospital, which is situated on a Nepalese mountainside.

The walkers set out from Upper Hambleton and finished their six-mile loop with a picnic.

Marika, who spent her first month with her adoptive parents at Anandaban Hospital, said: “I was so happy to take part in the walk for the hospital.

“I went back there when I was seven and I was sad to see children the same age as me struggling with leprosy.

“It seemed so unfair because leprosy can be cured so easily.”

The lab at Anandaban is working on developing technology that will diagnose leprosy on a smartphone.

Louise Timmins, Marika’s mum, is head of fundraising at The Leprosy Mission charity, which is based in Peterborough.

She and husband Paul, a chief inspector at Lincolnshire Police, waited 12 years to become parents before adopting Marika from Nepal.

Louise said: “Our faithful supporters and fellow walkers shared this exciting hope of ending leprosy.

“It still amazes me that with the aid of science to speed up the process, we can make this a reality.”

Leprosy is an infectious bacterial disease affecting the nerves, skin, eyes, and lining of the nose. There were 127,000 new cases globally in 2020.

Leprosy can be cured with a combination of antibiotics.

More information on the work of the Leprosy Mission can be found at www.leprosymission.org.uk

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