Peaks challenge in aid of Weston Park

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A DEVOTED son has been inspired by his mum’s successful cancer treatment to organise a gruelling challenge in aid of a Sheffield hospital charity.

Richard Mason, 40, from Retford, was so appreciative of the care his mum Jo received at Weston Park Hospital that he persuaded family and friends to tackle the famous Three Peaks Challenge, raising £4,200 so far for the hospital’s cancer charity.

The mission involved the group tackling the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales, all in just 24 hours.

Richard, his wife Melanie, 39, and friend Veryan Gull took on the challenge, supported by his sister Sarah and friend Jonathan Stobart who drove the walkers the 450 miles between the mountains.

The epic journey started at Ben Nevis before they moved south to Scafell Pike in the Lake District then onto Snowdon - where Jo and dad Jeremy, 66, joined the group for the final ascent.

Richard, a commercial director, said: “We did this to thank Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity for the care mum received during her radiotherapy treatment.”

“The money will support research projects which will help other families now and in the future.”

Jo, 64, from Worksop, was diagnosed with breast cancer last September after a routine scan, and had radiotherapy at Weston Park Hospital as part of her treatment.

She said: “The diagnosis was a shock as I’ve always been so fit and healthy.”

“I had such good, caring treatment, and now I’m feeling better, we wanted as a family to give something back. I could not have had better care and treatment from both Rotherham District General where I had my operation and Weston Park.”

Jo, now in remission, trained hard to take part in the walk and overcame fatigue which was a temporary, side-effect of her treatment.

She added: “Taking part was a huge achievement for me. I’ve always been a keen walker and did a lot of training in the months ahead to build up my fitness, starting with an hour’s gentle walking.”

“It meant so much to me to be with family and friends at the top of Snowdon, and know that we’ve raised so much money for such a worthwhile cause.”

The challenge had a special meaning for Veryan and her brother Jonathan as their mountaineer grandfather Tom Stobart had trained with Sir Edmund Hillary on Snowdon, before he took part in the successful conquest of Mount Everest in 1953, as photographer of the expedition.

The money raised from the event will support the work of Weston Park Hospital Charity which needs to raise £1.3m a year to fund research and support to patients and their families through cancer treatment.

As many as one in three people will be diagnosed with cancer at some stage in their lives.

Rachel Thorpe, director of Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity, said: “Many thanks to Richard, Jo and all the family and friends for taking part in this fantastic and very demanding challenge.”

“We greatly appreciate the dedication of our supporters who play a vital role in supporting our cause.”