Medical staff to take on Ben Nevis in support of Eric Thomson’s Mexico surgery

Chemotherapy unit staff Julie saint, Sara Skidmore, Pam Hawxwell, Peter Burrell, Rosie Livingston, Karen Bird, Pauline Wallace and Val Storey. Picture by FRANK REID

Chemotherapy unit staff Julie saint, Sara Skidmore, Pam Hawxwell, Peter Burrell, Rosie Livingston, Karen Bird, Pauline Wallace and Val Storey. Picture by FRANK REID

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Hospital staff will swap the wards for walking when they tackle a hike up the highest mountain in the British Isles.

Chemotherapy staff from the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust are all set to face up to Ben Nevis on Sunday to back the Get Eric To Mexico cause.

Eric Thompson who is to undergo a stem cell operation.

Eric Thompson who is to undergo a stem cell operation.

The campaign aims to send Hartlepool dad Eric Thomson to have pioneering surgery abroad. A massive charity effort is ongoing to raise the £35,000 needed to send the former Camerons brewery worker to Mexico for stem cell MS treatment on June 20.

And the chemo staff are determined to do their bit by walking up Ben Nevis at the weekend.

Chemotherapy nurse specialist Rosie Livingston said: “It is 1,345 metres and we are hoping to do it in eight hours. We have been training by walking up Roseberry Topping and this was an idea we came up with to fundraise.”

The staff will be backed by ambulance driver Stephen Cooper who will be taking the team to their destination. And local businessman Derek Leighton was praised by the team for donating a minibus for the project.

We want to thank everyone who has supported us so far. This is something different for us and we thought we would give it a go. It is for a great cause as well

Rosie Livingston, chemotherapy nurse specialist

Rosie added: “We want to thank everyone who has supported us so far. This is something different for us and we thought we would give it a go. It is for a great cause as well.”

Eric, 50, from Jowitt Road, will travel to the Riaz Clinic, in Mexico, for his pioneering stem cell treatment operation on June 19.

Fundraising is still happenng to reach the total.

When Eric was given the devastating diagnosis of Primary Progressive MS four years ago, he was told there was no treatment in this country and was forced to watch his whole life change as symptoms progressed.

But after hearing of the possibility of pioneering stem cell treatment abroad, friends and family rallied round and battled to raise the funds for his Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantations (HSCT).

If successful, the treatment offers the possibility of slowing - if not stopping - the progression of his MS, and improve mobility.

To donate to Eric’s cause, visit: http://www.gofundme.com/HSCTforEricT. To support the chemotherapy staff, contact (01429) 522760.