Hospital staff take on Ben Nevis Challenge for Eric's pioneering surgery
Hospital staff are delighted after making it to the top of the highest mountain in the British Isles to raise funds for a Hartlepool dad's pioneering MS surgery.
Chemotherapy staff from the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust took on the challenge of climbing to the top of Ben Nevis to send Eric Thomson to Mexico for stem cell surgery.
The campaign aims to raise £35,000 needed to fund Eric’s Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantations (HSCT) surgery at the Riaz Clinic on June 20.
The nurses, which included Eric’s wife Joanne Thomson, from Jowitt Road, tackled the 1,345-metre climb in nine hours to raise around £2,000. Joanne said the climb was the hardest thing she had ever done, but now the fundraising team are just £1,500 away from the total.
Joanne said: “There were nine of us who did it and everybody was amazing to reach the top because it wasn’t easy and it was such a hot day.
“But I am so pleased we have done it and so proud of us all.”
The team who trained for the climb by walking up Roseberry Topping, were taken to the mountain by ambulance driver Stephen Cooper in a minibus donated by local businessman Derek Leighton.
Joanne added: “We were halfway up Ben Nevis when we met a family who has just come back from Mexico after their brother-in-law had the same treatment.
“They said he is doing amazing since, so that really encouraged us to keep going.
“We all could have given up a few times quite easily, but hearing that gave us the final push.
“I can’t thank the girls enough for doing it as there was a lot of blood, sweat and tears!”
When Eric, 50, 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 treatment.
If successful, the treatment offers the possibility of slowing - if not stopping - the progression of his MS, and improve mobility.
The next fundraiser is a spin class which will be held on June 26 at Mill House Leisure Centre from 11.30am.
To donate to Eric’s cause, visit: http://www.gofundme.com/HSCTforEricT.