Charity mountaineers to scale Kilimanjaro for Sheffield Children's Hospital
A group of 25 novice mountaineers from South Yorkshire will next month set off on the challenge of a lifetime to help build a better future for Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
The group of former and current patients and staff will be attempting to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain and the world’s tallest free-standing peak, which stands at 5,895 metres above sea level.
Having raised all the money to get to Tanzania themselves, the group are now collecting funds to build the hospital a new helipad and transform its emergency department and cancer and leukemia wards.
Cameron Crossley from Chapeltown was born with a condition which meant that his left leg was much smaller than his right.
After 15 years of care at the hospital, including surgery and regular trips to the orthopaedic department for physiotherapy, Cameron is set to take on one of the biggest walking challenges there is.
Cameron, 23, said: “I want to give back and push myself to raise awareness for the hospital and the funds that they need.
“If it wasn’t for the orthopaedic department who helped me as a child, I wouldn’t be able to walk properly, let alone climb Kilimanjaro.”
Fellow climber Christian Ellis’ inspiration for the climb is his fourteen-year-old son, Harry.
Harry was diagnosed with visual impairment and autism, while a rare genetic condition also affects his growth.
He has been a regular visitor to the hospital throughout his life for treatment and support.
Christian, 41, from Fulwood, said: “This wonderful local hospital has given him vital treatment and made his life a happier and healthier version of what it could have been.”
10-year-old Thomas Gullick, from Rotherham, was diagnosed with a cancerous tumour back in December 2015 after his mum Rebecca found a lump.
He then underwent several rounds of life-saving chemotherapy at Sheffield Children’s Hospital before entering remission.
Thomas' dad Steve, 41, said: “I hate walking and camping, but whenever it gets hard, I’m going to think of what Thomas has been through.
“If he can do that, I can certainly do this and anything we can do to make the environment nicer for other families will be more than worth it.”
Christine Ramsden, 51, from Woodseats works as a clinical nurse specialist in the hospital, working in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) for the last 23 years.
She said: “I lost my mum when I was 16, which was very difficult and I would have really benefited from services like the ones I work in to help me feel heard, understood and to discover my strengths and resilience.
“I’m now 51, the age my mum was when she died, and I want to show my children that with perseverance, dedication and hard work, you can achieve much more than you can ever imagine.”
The proceeds from the climb will principally go towards the Children’s Hospital Charity’s appeal to transform the emergency department, build a helipad and renovate the cancer and leukaemia ward.
Sheffield Children’s Hospital’s emergency department is a nationally designated major trauma centre for South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw.
The department was designed to see 32,000 children a year but now sees nearly 60,000.
The creation of an on-site helipad will mean patients can be brought to the hospital via air ambulance outside of daylight hours, avoiding landing in the nearby Weston Park and crossing the A57 to access the emergency department – providing increased safety and dignity for patients who require urgent care in the hospital.
As well as patients and staff, two members of the Children’s Hospital Charity’s team will also be joining the mountaineers, events fundraising manager Cheryl Davidson and marketing officer Caitlin Hallatt, having personally fundraised for the challenge too.
Cheryl said: “It’s so heart-warming to see so many people commit to such a bold challenge to help Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
“Everyone taking part has their own individual reason for taking part, but they are bonded together by a shared love of our hospital and a determination to see it become the best it possibly can be.”