Brave supporters climb over London’s O2 dome to raise money to support cancer sufferers, their families and the hospitals that treat them.                                     Report by Barbara Field-Holmes

Sixty-one brave supporters, some who openly admitted that they were afraid of heights, took part in the Up at the O2 Charity Climb to raise funds for The Chartwell Cancer Trust, The Chartwell Children’s Cancer Trust, including the children’s oncology ward at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich, and the oncology unit at King’s College Hospital and The CCT Lily Pad Appeal.

The climbers were divided into two teams and between them raised over an impressive £17,000. The climb took place on Saturday 25th May. The day was warm and sunny and unlike last year when it rained heavily all day, this year’s climb gave the climbers a fantastic view over London. Those taking up the challenge covered a wide range of ages – the youngest was just nine years old, while the oldest was 73! The first team, headed by Michelle Simpson (CCT), set off at 4pm, with the second team headed by Michelle Calthorpe (CCT) at 4.30pm.

Each climber had their own reasons for taking part for all of our charities. Among the climbers on the first team was Team Theo (Katharine and Frank Fell, Simon, Lorraine and Gabriel Bashford, Shelley and Elijah Ingram) in memory of Theo who lost his fight against cancer at just 10 years old. Theo’s family explained: “In 2016, at just eight years old, Theo was diagnosed with a rare spinal tumour. After two and a half years of grueling treatment, endless hospital stays, good days, bad days, and a very brave fight on his part, the tumour  could no longer be controlled and we lost him.” Team Theo were raising money for The CCT Lily Pad Appeal. Theo and his parents had many overnight stays on the oncology section of the Children’s Ward at Croydon University Hospital and are very keen to see other children and their families benefit from what will be vastly improved facilities.

Also walking in the first team was Edward and Duncan who twisted the arms of their mums, Hazel and Alison, to climb The O2 with them. They were keen to raise money for the Tiger Ward at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich, where Duncan’s younger brother, Nathan, spent much of his three and a half years being treated for leukaemia from the age of two years, four months. The boys’ school, Southborough Primary School has also chosen us as their charity of the year in support of Nathan.

Others climbing for the children’s oncology ward at QE included Sarah and Kev who climbed to give something back to the ward that did so much for their son Jack. Jack was diagnosed with a Wilms Tumour (a type of kidney cancer) in October 2017; he finished his treatment in June 2018 and is thankfully, in remission. Jack had some of his treatment and was an in-patient on Tiger Ward, a shared care centre that works alongside The Royal Marsden (which Jack was under) as well as other big hospitals. Sarah and Kev were full of praise for the treatment, both medically and emotionally, that they received.

There were many climbing for The CCT and The CCCT, all of who had either direct or indirect contact with a loved one or friend who has been affected by cancer. These included Kevin Siddons and his son Christopher, who was fulfilling his promise to his late Nan to raise money for a cancer charity; Anne Green and her friend Jan – Anne was treated for breast cancer at The Chartwell Cancer Unit (PRUH); Elizabeth O’Donoghue who lost her mother in 2017 “to honour her life and strength”, and to thank The CCT who helped her family during a ‘very trying time’; Hannah Figg, who just wanted to help raise money for this “amazing charity that has supported our family and lots of our friends”, including her own Dad, Graham, who after treatment became involved with The CCT to help with fundraising and events.

There are many more moving stories and we would like to say thank you to everyone that climbed. It was an amazing achievement and we are grateful for all the funds that were raised.