After receiving the devastating news that his five year old son has a low grade brain tumour, our amazing trustee Rob Ritchie, along with his friends and family, took on Everest in the Alps to raise money to fund pioneering research into paediatric brain tumours. In February 2018, Rob and seven brave teams are tackling this extraordinary challenge once again.
Everest in the Alps, which was inspired by Rob, is a demanding challenge that reflects the mountain his son, Toby, still has to climb in his fight against the disease. In 2015, Rob and 13 of his friends and family travelled to the Swiss village of Verbier where they took on the very first Everest in the Alps - by skiing a gruelling 8,848 metres uphill, the height of Everest. The group raised an incredible £3million, helping fund the creation of The Everest Centre for Research in Germany –a leading research centre into paediatric low grade tumours which opened in June 2017.
"Toby's diagnosis changed his life and ours. The Everest Centre has brought together international experts to accelerate progress towards more effective and less harmful treatments for slower-growing brain tumours, which can have a devastating long-term impact."
Rob Ritchie, whose son Toby was diagnosed with a low grade (slower-growing) brain tumour on his brain stem at the age of five.
In 2016, 14 ordinary people took on an extraordinary challenge in the Swiss Alps so they could raise money to fund pioneering research into brain tumours.
Watch the Everest in the Alps 2016 team reach the summit!
Everest in the Alps: the second ascent, is even bigger this year - with 30 people taking on the challenge of scaling the height of Everest on skis. Watch this space for more information about the seven teams bracing this epic challenge and how they're training to prepare themselves for four days of gruelling terrain.
Sadly Toby is not an isolated case. Globally, over 26,870 children and young adults have a paediatric low grade (slower growing) brain tumour. And every day a young person takes another step in dealing with their own personal Everest. Harry, mentor to our Young Ambassadors, shares his personal story.
Harry: My Personal Everest
“I was diagnosed with a brain tumour when I was seven years old on Christmas Day. Jumping back two years, I had my first GP appointment, at which point I was sleeping for 12 hours a day. By the time he eventually sent me for an MRI scan, I had severe headaches, stomach aches, was vomiting on a regular basis and was sleeping for 16 hours a day.
“When I had my MRI, the tumour was the size of a golf ball. By this point I was very, very close to dying. I had two lots of surgery which sadly didn't do anything.
"For my third surgery, we changed surgeon and he removed 97% of the tumour. The last 3% was on the brain stem which meant had he operated on it, I'd be permanently paralysed down my right hand side. So instead, I had a year course of chemotherapy which left me completely deaf in my left ear.
“I wasn't diagnosed early enough. If I was, I know I would still have hearing in my left ear and my right side would still be as strong as my left. You have no idea of the journey ahead of you but my last ever MRI scan was in December 2014 and when my pediatrician told me I had the all clear, it felt like winning the world cup. It felt incredible. It's difficult to describe how good it feels."
Harry Graham, university student, mentor and (and part time magician!), aged 21
Donate to the teams
Help the Everest in the Alps: the second ascent teams reach their target by donating to their JustGiving.
We're delighted to be partnering with A Kid's Brain Tumour Cure in New York. For more information or if you're an American citizen and would like to donate, please visit their website.