A Furness man is embarking on a unique mountaineering challenge encompassing all of Britain’s highest peaks to raise money for a charity that helped his wife when she was diagnosed with cancer.
Next Monday, Andy Pickering from Barrow will travel to the Scottish Highlands to begin his Mountain Bear Three Sleeps Challenge, his own take on the famous Three Peaks which involves climbing Ben Nevis, Snowdon and Scafell Pike in 24 hours.
Andy will be climbing all three mountains in three days and a sleeping overnight on the summit of each with only his faithful cockerpoo, Bear, for company.
He is aiming to use the challenge to raise £1,000 for CancerCare, a charity which delivers free professional counselling and complementary therapy to people affected by cancer and bereavement and which supported his wife Wendy when she was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2016.
Andy said: “That was when our perfect world suddenly fell apart. Wendy had an operation to remove one of her kidneys and spent 10 days in hospital as there were complications. We were introduced to CancerCare which helped us both come to terms with what had happened and help you plan ahead with positive thoughts.”
Wendy has been receiving a variety of therapies at CancerCare including counselling, aromatherapy and mindfulness classes. It also extends support to family members and Andy himself benefitted from aromatherapy massage.
“CancerCare has done so much for us I thought I would like to give a little back and help a charity that really does make a difference to people when they are at their lowest point,” Andy added.
Both Andy and Wendy are seasoned walkers, as is Bear who is always a keen companion on their high-level adventures which include completing the Wainwrights several times and 30 of the Scottish Munroes – mountains more than 3,000 feet in height.
Wendy said: “I am extremely proud of Andy for doing this challenge. He has been my rock through some very hard times. The support that I have received from CancerCare has been amazing, not just the therapies but also the brilliant craft classes were we can meet up once a week to forget or talk about cancer, whilst making lovely friends that know what you feel and think.”
CancerCare recently opened a brand new centre on Duke Street in Barrow with purpose renovated therapy rooms and a specially equipped children’s play therapy room.
CancerCare Chief Executive Maria Chambers said: “It is an extremely challenging time for charities like ours so we can’t thank Andy enough for this wonderful effort. It’s inspiring to hear how we’ve helped them both and made such a positive difference to their lives at such a tough time.
“CancerCare relies on public donations for 93% of the funds we need to help local people, so every penny raised for us goes directly to helping people like Andy and Wendy.”