Sufferers of painful condition help each other to scale Roseberry Topping for Hartlepool support group

Sufferers of an agonising condition battled through the pain barrier to raise over £2,000 for a new support group.

Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 4:45 am

Around 20 people with fibromyalgia – a condition that can cause pain all over the body – successfully climbed Roseberry Topping on Sunday.

It was organised by Hartlepool borough councillor Stephen Picton, who has had the condition for a year and has started a new group Fibro-Connect TS to enable fellow sufferers across Teesside to support one another.

The determined fundraisers braved rain, sleet and wind on the coldest day of the month to walk up and down the 1,000ft landmark hill near Great Ayton.

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We made it! Some of the walkers after reaching the top of Roseberry Topping. Picture by Beverley Forbes-McBean.

Stephen, 50, said: “I think we had just about every kind of weather chucked at us.

"We were just supporting each other and pushing each other on to get to the top. It was a proper team effort.

"I’m absolutely proud of the people that got to the top. It was emotional knowing that for the next few days they are going to be in so much pain but they did it.”

It took the walkers about two hours to reach the summit and some unfortunately had to turn back due to the pain they were in, but the majority made it all the way to the top.

Stephen Picton (left) and fellow walkers during the sponsored climb.

Together, they raised about £2,500 for the support group which is almost a year’s rent for the new Hartlepool office due to open in The Arches.

The unit is currently in the process of being renovated and is due to be ready to welcome and help visitors early next year.

Stephen added: “It’s coming on well. The new carpet is going down this week.”

Fibro-Connect TS is also aiming to produce a leaflet about fibromyalgia and distribute them to every doctor’s waiting waiting room in the area.

People with fibromyalgia can experience severe pain all over the body, chronic fatigue, spasms and ‘brain fog’.

Stephen was diagnosed earlier this year after months of tests. It meant he was forced to give up his job as a taxi driver after many years and as an employee with Poolie Time Exchange.

The Fibro-Connect TS Facebook page now has 400 members.

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