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Liverpool marathon for father Martin Bell in memory of baby daughter Josie who died of rare degenerative lung disease

A father is gearing up to run a marathon in memory of his baby daughter.

Martin Bell, 29, will be taking on the 26-mile challenge in Liverpool on May 20 to create a legacy for his daughter Josie, who died at the age of just five and a half months from a rare form of degenerative lung disease.

Josie fought hard for several months after first being admitted with bronchiolitis to the Royal Victoria Hospital for Sick Children in Belfast, where the Bell family lived at the time.

Martin, Ava, Olli, Emma and Josie Bell
Martin, Ava, Olli, Emma and Josie Bell

At one stage she underwent a heart operation, but she died on March 24 last year.

“I have been inspired by her, her fight and what she went through,” Martin said. “She gave us so much.

“She went through so many operations, in so many places, and would just wake up and smile.

“All the little battles she fought, that’s what inspired us to pick ourselves up.”

Josie Bell
Josie Bell
Josie Bell
Josie Bell

Taking part in the race with Martin is his brother-in-law Mark Harris, who lives in Herne Bay.

The pair will be raising funds for Ronald McDonald House, where Martin and his wife Emma stayed for several weeks after Josie was flown to Glasgow Children’s Hospital.

Martin said: It’s an amazing place. We would have been lost without it, we can’t thank them enough. It’s nice to give back a little bit now to charity in her name, and put some good things in her name.”

Martin and Emma and Josie’s two siblings, Olli, six, and Ava, four, live in Ambleside, Faversham.

Martin Bell training for Liverpool Marathon
Martin Bell training for Liverpool Marathon

Having never run before, Martin, a warehouse operator for GIST, says that training for the race has helped him to cope with his grief.

“When I go for a run my head just clears. It’s been tough but I’m enjoying it.

“I don’t think anyone expects their child to pass away. It’s been tough for us. She comes up in conversation every single day.

“We want Josie’s name to be out there, and say look what she’s inspired us to do.”

Sponsor Martin at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/josiethebrave

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