Brain tumour survivor from Lancashire preparing to embark on epic journey to conquer Mount Toubkal

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In just a few weeks, a group of brain tumour survivors from across the UK are set to scale new heights as they prepare to conquer Mount Toubkal in the Atlas Mountains. This incredible journey will be a real test of their resilience and determination.

The team members, all diagnosed with brain tumours, have undergone gruelling treatments that have left lasting side effects. These include facial palsy, hearing loss, balance issues, impaired vision and chronic fatigue to name just a few. Yet despite the challenges they have faced, they have come together to take on this monumental challenge.

Among them, Andrew Read, from Billington (Lancashire), who was diagnosed in April 2017. Having been treated at Manchester Salford Royal, he now faces daily challenges caused by the effects of damage caused by the tumour, and its treatment.

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About being selected for the team, Andrew says, “It’s been seven years since I underwent surgery to remove my Vestibular Schwannoma, a low grade brain tumour. During the first few years, I received incredible after care from Salford Royal, but now I’m left to navigate my own recovery.

Andrew with Sara Crosland, founder of The Beyond Recovery Project on the summit of Yr WyddfaAndrew with Sara Crosland, founder of The Beyond Recovery Project on the summit of Yr Wyddfa
Andrew with Sara Crosland, founder of The Beyond Recovery Project on the summit of Yr Wyddfa

Recovery is never-ending; we have to learn to live with our life changing symptoms each day the best we can. Being involved with The Beyond Recovery Project has been a massive lifeline, giving me a focus and goal to get out there and train even on the days when chronic fatigue unexpectedly kicks in.

To be part of this incredible team of very inspiring people, who fully understand each other’s daily challenges is so unique. Yes, it is going to be our biggest challenge yet, but I have no doubt that we will support and encourage each other every step of the way to the summit.”

For these survivors, the journey to conquer the highest peak in North Africa at 4,167m represents more than just a physical feat. It is a powerful statement of their resilience and strength.

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By embarking on this adventure, the team hope to inspire others facing similar battles and raise awareness about the importance of supporting brain tumour survivors on their journey to recovery.

The Beyond Recovery Project team on a training weekend in SnowdoniaThe Beyond Recovery Project team on a training weekend in Snowdonia
The Beyond Recovery Project team on a training weekend in Snowdonia

The trip to Mount Toubkal has been organised and funded by The Beyond Recovery Project, a non-profit Community Interest Company (CIC) dedicated to supporting the physical and mental health and wellbeing of brain tumour survivors through outdoor and nature-based activities and therapies.

The organisation was set up last year by Sara Crosland, from Ellesmere Port, Cheshire. Being a brain tumour survivor herself, she recognised the gaps in support once you have undergone treatment.

A huge advocate of harnessing the power of nature for healing and recovery, she says, “Treatment is finished, follow up appointments and contact with medical professionals become few and far between, yet the life-changing effects of a brain tumour diagnosis are often still there. Years later, navigating a new normal can still be a real challenge and not without its problems.

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The services and experiences we provide, not only offer survivors an opportunity to reconnect with nature, but they also serve as a catalyst for personal growth, self-confidence and renewed hope.

Andrew and fellow team member Phill Holmes training in YorkshireAndrew and fellow team member Phill Holmes training in Yorkshire
Andrew and fellow team member Phill Holmes training in Yorkshire

Recovery certainly doesn’t come with a handbook. Navigating this journey is hard. The Beyond Recovery Project is all about bringing together others on the same or similar journey, creating a ‘safe’ space and sense of community where survivors can share experiences and learn how to push beyond the physical and psychological barriers they face.”

Throughout the challenge, the team will be fundraising for both The Beyond Recovery Project, and The British Acoustic Neuroma Association (BANA).

To support the team in their quest to conquer Mount Toubkal, please visit their fundraising page at www.givewheel.com/fundraising/2450/jebel-toubkal-challenge-2024/

To learn more about The Beyond Recovery Project and their mission, visit www.thebeyondrecoveryproject.org

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