Michaela Laidlaw, 35, from York, was diagnosed with an oligodendroglioma brain tumour in 2015. Since then, she has undergone three operations, and many months of gruelling treatment. But, setting out on Sunday, she is climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain on the African continent, to raise funds for The Brain Tumour Charity– and to show her young son Spencer, 6, what can be achieved despite a life-changing illness.
Michaela said: “Being diagnosed with a brain tumour at 26 completely out of the blue, 9 months after getting married, completely rocked our world and changed our future within an instant.
“The impact of living with a brain tumour has and still does hugely affect me and my family, both physically and mentally.
“After the operations and treatment I knew I had to rebuild my life, and especially now we have Spencer, I wanted to teach him resilience, determination and to never give up when times are tough whatever life throws at you.
“I am determined to complete my dream of climbing this rather large hill and show my son, Spencer, that however tough times can feel, you must stay strong, keep fighting and never give up.”
Michaela has been preparing for the trek by tackling hills in this country, and spending many hours on the stair master in the gym.
“I’ve had a wonderful personal trainer who has pushed me really hard and helped build up strength and fitness in my legs.
“This year I’ve done the Yorkshire 3 peaks challenge, Scafel, Ben Nevis, Roseberry topping and Arthur’s seat a few times too. I’m feeling fit but obviously none of these will compare to what’s coming!
“It goes without saying, I’ll miss my hubby Neil, and my amazing little boy so incredibly much especially when times get tough. But I’m looking forward to getting a photo at the summit with Spencer’s most prized possession, his koala teddy bear he’s had since birth and has never slept without it! He is allowing it to come on ‘holiday’ with me!”
Looking forward to the challenge
Michaela is no stranger to tough physical effort, having run the London Marathon for us in 2019.
She set out to raise £5,000 for The Brain Tumour Charity and has already smashed her target. Check out her JustGiving page here!
Plan your own trek!
Could you climb to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro? Do you want to take on Ben Nevis or trek through the Sahara? Find out more about our charity treks here: