Reaching the peak

02 Jul 2019

After being treated at St Bartholomew’s over the last two years, Stephanie decided to do a six day, 32 mile trek through the Himalayas. With some help from family and friends, she raised nearly £9,000!

In 2017, Stephanie was diagnosed with acromegaly, a rare endocrine disorder caused by a brain tumour. She had emergency surgery to remove part of the tumour. Then she spent several months being given a course of radiotherapy at St Bartholomew's Hospital.

Steph says, “I had a brilliant experience at St Bartholomew’s. I can’t thank the team enough. They were welcoming and friendly, nothing was ever too much of a bother. When I moved to a new hospital, they stayed in touch to make sure that I was doing alright. They really cared.

“When my family came to visit, they felt welcomed and included as well. They felt I was in good hands.”

Before the trek, Stephanie had never even camped before. Suddenly, she was spending six days in the remote Himalayan mountains, with her boyfriend Jay as the only person she knew.

“At some points, it was so steep I couldn’t even walk anymore,” she remembers. “I had to crawl on all fours!”

One of the hardest parts was how cold it could get.

“I was freezing at night – and the symptoms of my illness mean that I’m normally too hot!”

Despite the difficulties, Stephanie loved the trek. The landscape was beautiful, particularly when it snowed. Out in the wilderness, she felt removed from the distractions of social media, phones, make-up and the normal pressures of life.

“You could focus on being present in the moment and not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. It was very zen.”

For Steph, the trek was an almost spiritual experience. After an incredibly difficult year thanks to illness, the trek was a good way to celebrate the end of her radiotherapy treatment and de-stress.

When Stephanie announced that she wanted to do some fundraising, it had a snowball effect among her friends and family. They hosted a summer fun day (right), held a bake sale, organised a World Cup sweepstake and had runners in both the Hackney Half and the Dublin Marathon! One friend even cut off his extremely long hair (pictured right). Between all their fundraising, they managed to raise nearly £9,000.

“I think that people really got behind my fundraising because it gave them something positive to focus on,” says Stephanie. “I appreciate everyone’s support, both during my illness and afterwards. You helped me get through a difficult time.”

Thank you to Stephanie and all the friends and family that banded together to support her!

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