Stoke-on-Trent family scales Britain’s highest peak for Alzheimer’s Research UK

Posted on 7th August 2015

A group of family and friends from Stoke-on-Trent scaled Britain’s highest mountain at the end of July to boost funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Siobhan McKinney, 23, organised the climb up Scotland’s Ben Nevis on Saturday 25 July in memory of her granddad, Bob, who died with Alzheimer’s disease last year, aged 71. She was joined by her 70-year-old grandmother Sylvia, mum and dad Shaun and Adene, her brothers Lloyd, Liam and Conor, and the Healey family, which included Siobhan’s auntie and four cousins, and friends.

On top of the world ... Siobhan McKinney (pink coat) with Nan Sylvia (purple coat) and some of their climbing party.
On top of the world … Siobhan McKinney (pink coat) with Nan Sylvia (purple coat) and some of their climbing party.

Twenty of the 23 climbers made it up and down the mountain, which stands 1,344m above sea level and dominates the skyline at the western end of the Grampian Mountains. Siobhan’s cousin, Asia, returned to the group’s hostel around half-way up after feeling unwell, while Sylvia bowed out part-way into the descent, physically unable to go on.

Siobhan and her family are no strangers to Alzheimer’s Research UK – the UK’s leading dementia research charity. Last year her dad and brothers had their hair permed to raise money for vital research, while Siobhan boosted funds further with a barbecue and fun day at her local pub. Siobhan said they hoped to raise around £4,000 from the climb, bringing the family’s overall total to almost £8,000.

Siobhan explained her reasons for supporting the dementia research experts, Alzheimer’s Research UK:

“My granddad was such a lovely, funny man who loved spending time with his grandchildren. We’d go round my nan and granddad’s house every Sunday for dinner and he’d always buy us sweets and spoil us. He had dementia for around four years from diagnosis. When his dementia progressed, he moved into the New Milton Nursing Home in Milton. Nan would visit him twice a day, every day. She hated leaving him, but it was the best place for him as he needed constant care. The care home was amazing and they looked after him so well.

“The climb was really hard. My aunty Tracey and cousin Asia only made it half-way up due to Asia being poorly and needing to go back to the hostel. Unfortunately, my nan had to be airlifted down during the descent. She’s absolutely fine now, but her legs and back went on her. She would have got down under her own steam if she was physically capable. We’re so proud of her for getting to the top. She said she was determined to do it, even if she had to crawl on her hands and knees!”

Siobhan added:

“We decided to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK as we don’t want other families to have to go through this – it has such a wide-reaching impact. Our hope is that one day dementia will be beaten. Alzheimer’s Research UK is a fantastic charity which can help find that cure.”

Zoe Baggott, Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Regional Fundraising Officer for the West and Wales, said:

“The McKinney family have already made such a valuable contribution to our work through their fundraising endeavours and it’s fantastic that, once again, they’ve chosen to support vital dementia research with their climb up Ben Nevis. The money they’ve raised will help bring us closer to finding ways to diagnose, prevent, treat and cure Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

“There are 850,000 people across the UK living with dementia today, including nearly 12,000 people in Staffordshire, yet research into the condition lags far behind other serious diseases. Research has the power to transform lives but we rely on public support to fund our pioneering work. It’s thanks to the dedication of individuals and families like the McKinneys that we’re able to continue funding world-class research.”

To sponsor the McKinney family for their climb, visit www.justgiving.com/benneviswander. For further information about Alzheimer’s Research UK, or to find out more about fundraising for the charity, call 0300 111 5555 or visit www.alzheimersresearchuk.org

Posted in Fundraising news