Having a focus and embarking on a challenge can be very powerful towards the healing process, both emotionally and physically. Our fundraisers who challenge themselves to reach the summit of mountains are awarded with a great sense of achievement and satisfaction.
15 Jul 2021 | By Jill
Thomas and Gill Climb Ben Nevis
On June 7th 2015 Thomas and Gill decided to celebrate their 1st year wedding anniversary and to mark the occasion they wanted to do something they would always remember so decided to climb Ben Nevis. Both Gill and Thomas have had a heart breaking time with Gill suffering numerous miscarriages and 2 ectopic pregnancies this is their story told by Thomas.
After Arlena was born Gill went into hospital to be sterilised not knowing at the time that she would end up meeting me. After a few years together Gill took the decision to have the operation reversed in the hope of us having a baby together. The operation was a success and a few months later Gill was pregnant however suffered a miscarriage. Gill then went on to have another 3 miscarriages. Once again Gill became pregnant and was continually monitored by her GP, with her HCG levels rising as they should everything was looking good until it was discovered Gill was going through an Ectopic pregnancy resulting in her having life saving surgery and the removal of one of her tubes. They say lightning doesn’t strike twice, well, similar to what happened before Gill suffered another Ectopic pregnancy resulting in another life saving operation and the removal of her 2nd and final tube which meant that Gill couldn’t have anymore children and me not having any of my own, however I still thank god to this day that Gill is still by my side and that I have the 3 best step kids I could possibly ask for and who I look upon as my own.
Jennifer and Shuggie Climb Ben Nevis
We are delighted and very thankful to Jennifer and her boyfriend Shuggie who both climbed Ben Nevis. This is the highest mountain in the British Isles, , located in Scotland. Standing at 1,345 metres above sea level so a great triumph. Jennifer sadly suffered an ectopic pregnancy a few months earlier to the climb and struggled for information from her hospital, luckily they found us at the ectopic pregnancy trust and Jennifer says she then learnt everything she needed to know between our website and chat forums, which helped them both through the most difficult time of their life’s. We are so proud and grateful to Jennifer and Shuggie for a fantastic achievement and raising just over £855 which is just amazing and really will help us to continue supporting women and their families.
Danielle and Natasha Climb Ben Nevis
Danielle and Natasha fulfilled an amazing challenge by climbing the highest mountain in the UK, Ben Nevis with the summit at 1,344.527 m. This was a fabulous achievement. They also supported us by hosting an EPTea Party. Danielle very sadly suffered a ruptured ectopic pregnancy in 2016 and Natasha has been the most supportive and amazing friend over the last few years.
We supported the ectopic pregnancy trust because I had a ruptured ectopic pregnancy in May 2016. When I was trying to make sense of what had happened the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust was the place I found the support. I needed and wanted to give something back. Natasha was also there for me she not only helped me through the worst time in my life but she has also joined me in supporting the charity, which is closest to my heart. We chose Ben Nevis because my Dad works up in Fort William. He had mentioned the mountain a few times and that people walk it for themselves and for charity. It wasn’t until after we had booked to take part in this walk that we realised it was actually the highest peak in the U.K. In preparation we walked to the top of Snowdon in Wales and attempted Scafell Pike in the Lake District but only made it half way due to extreme weather. Climbing Ben Nevis was the biggest challenge I have ever taken it really did take every bit of energy that Natasha and me had. It tested us physically and mentally at points we didn’t even think we were going to make it half way. There were tears, tantrums and laughter but we made it to the top and it was by far the most amazing achievement.
Ryan Palmer Climbs Mount Kilimanjaro
Ryan took on this gruelling, incredible and life changing expedition. Ryan chose to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to support and raise awareness for the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust. This was a seriously impressive and life changing challenge. Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa majestically standing at about 5,895 metres. It is actually the tallest free standing mountain in the world.
Ryan wrote the below account of the expedition from the heart while enjoying a well deserved beer in Tanzania detailing and sharing all about the highs and lows and what kept him going to get to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.
So 15 months of planning and fundraising and my Kilimanjaro climb has finally happened. It was, without a doubt the hardest thing I have ever attempted. The first 3 days were beautiful and although tough the lack of oxygen was manageable and tent not to cold. However, the summit night was entirely different.
Setting off at midnight from 4600m above sea level it was already a struggle to tie my laces let alone climb a further 1295m with a 10kg backpack in temperatures of -12c.
The next 8 hours were an exercise in mental strength. Every effort was needed to put one foot in front of the other and at times it felt impossible to keep moving.
Around 3 in the morning the dizziness and hallucinations kicked in and at one point I was adamant Elvis had been sketched in the cliff (clearly he hadn’t).
Over the next 3 hours I genuinely felt the summit was beyond me and as the temperatures continued to drop, the oxygen levels followed and just sitting to ‘rest’ felt like a huge effort. Eventually the sun began to rise and the whole effort became worthwhile. The scene was spectacular and I wish I was in some sort of state where I could have taken a photo to share.
As the sun came up we eventually made Stella point meaning a ‘short’ 500m / 1hour walk to the Uhuru Peak and the top of Africa.
So on Thursday 26th September at 8am (6am UK time) I did it!!
Now time for a number of cold beers!
Thank you for everyone that supported both me and the EPT through this journey.
Please also read Ryan and Georgina’s emotional story below and why he chose to do this climb.
Ryan and Georgina’s Story:
Before November 6th 2017 Georgina and I had very little awareness of what the term ‘Ectopic Pregnancy’ actually meant.
Fast forward 24 hours and we had found out the hard way. Georgina, in the early stages of pregnancy with our second child went to the doctors after complaining of stomach pain. Cue a dash to the hospital where we were told that she had suffered an Ectopic pregnancy. The Pregnancy had ruptured and as a consequence Georgina had been bleeding internally for 3 days.
The period after the operation was a very emotional and lonely place and it was here that the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust were brought to our attention. The EPT provided the support needed for both of us to deal with the trauma and loss not only in the period following the Ectopic Pregnancy but also in the following months were we suffered a further miscarriage.
The more we learnt about the EPT the more I wanted to help ensure that the EPT could support as many people as possible. Having previously competed in both the London Marathon and Triathlon alongside getting in a boxing ring for Charity I wanted to undertake a challenge really took me outside of my comfort zone. Having harboured the ambition to climb Kilimanjaro for some years this seemed like the perfect challenge to help raise profile and money for the EPT. A challenge where, despite all the best possible preparation it will ultimately be down to how my body reacts at altitude that will determine my success.
So having never donned a pair of walking boots or even stepped foot on a mountain before I will be heading to the top of Kilimanjaro in September 2019. To ensure I am as prepared as possible I have spent the winter analysing my body (seen in the photo) and building the strength required to carry myself and a 20kg bag to an altitude of 5895metres in just 4.5 days. Now 6 months away from the climb I am entering the second stage of training, plenty of hill walks and lots of running to prepare the lungs before entering altitude chambers over the summer to give my body the best possible chance of adapting quickly when I get to the mountain.
Already, this challenge has brought about discussion and raised awareness of both Ectopic Pregnancy and the EPT amongst my friends and family and hopefully this will continue beyond the summit of Kilimanjaro.
Whilst the climb was tough, way tougher than I ever expected, there were a handful of thoughts that kept me going. My wife and daughter sat firmly at the front of my thoughts alongside the need to complete in order to do justice to the work of the EPT.
Kerry Smith Climbs Scafell Pike
Kerry climbed Scafell Pike, in the Lake District standing at 978m high. She was joined by her best friend Rachael, who was her main supporter at the time of her ectopic experience, her eldest son and Rachel’s son and her step dad who led the way. Kerry is a passionate and talented cake artist and owner of The Berkshire Bakesmith. After suffering immense trauma and heartache Kerry decided she would like to raise funds and awareness please read below about Kerry’s experience and their climb.
In 2006, 6 weeks into my first pregnancy, I experienced bleeding and some cramping pains in my lower abdomen and thigh and was told by doctors that I was experiencing a miscarriage. I was absolutely devastated. The doctors monitored me and 7 days after the miscarriage began, they ran a pregnancy test to check my hormone levels. Three days later, the result came back and showed very strongly that I was still pregnant. I was very confused, I had started to process that I was miscarrying and had started to grieve. I wondered if maybe I was pregnant still and they had got it all wrong!
I did a Google search and the words “ectopic pregnancy” were written in the results. I’d never heard of this before but thought, this can’t be what’s happening to me, I had none of the warning symptoms, no shoulder tip pain, just mild discomfort really and obviously bleeding. Terrified, I called the doctor and he sent me to A&E. I was kept in for two nights for observations and various tests were run on me, there was nothing on the scans or in any of my blood results that indicated I was experiencing an ectopic pregnancy. I was sent home after the second night, with instructions to come back in the next day for monitoring.
The next day, I was still feeling relatively well physically but mentally I was completely tortured. I was scared, I was confused, I was grieving, but I was also living in hope that somehow this pregnancy was actually going to be okay. On this day, my consultant saved my life. He requested a scan and was present throughout. He stopped the scan at an area that had previously been unseen and immediately I could sense everyone around me panic. The pregnancy had ruptured through one of my Fallopian tubes and I was bleeding internally. I had been bleeding internally for 2 weeks by now.
Emergency surgery happened pretty much immediately and to be honest, it’s all a bit of a blur from here but I was so scared, my heart was beating through my chest and I cried, a lot. During the surgery, the ectopic pregnancy was removed, the ruptured Fallopian tube was removed and some damage had been done to one of my ovaries. I had lost a lot of blood and needed a blood transfusion.
I didn’t process any of this mentally at all for a long time, I concentrated on getting physically well. I was sadly offered no emotional support whatsoever by health professionals. My work at the time offered counselling and I had a few sessions which did help a bit. A lot of people stopped talking to me altogether because they didn’t know what to say, and in all honestly, I would have preferred them to say something, even the wrong thing, rather than to say nothing at all. I relied heavily on my friends for support and one evening, during a Google search, I discovered The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust. They had support forums and so much information, this was a massive lifeline for me and without them, without the other people in those forums, I honestly don’t know how I would have coped.
After this brush with death, losing a baby and almost losing my mental health, more miscarriages and trauma, I have been extremely blessed to have two beautiful and healthy little boys.
I’m one of the lucky ones. I don’t know how I did, but I survived and I’m determined every day to live my best life, raising my boys with my wonderful husband by my side. I’m raising money for The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust because women just like me need them for support. Health professionals need to know how this affects people, and that it’s not always a textbook case. I want to raise awareness of this horrific condition, it happens more than you expect because sadly, it’s still to this day a taboo subject and the only time it makes the news is when a mother dies as a result of it.
We completed our climb on Tuesday 28th May, it took us 6 hours to climb up and back down again. It was probably the most difficult physical challenge I’ve ever done, although I do love walking, I’ve never done hill walking before and this was so much harder than I anticipated! We all completed it, my 65 year old step dad, myself and Rachael and our two sons aged 11 and 12. We’re all rather pleased with ourselves, albeit suffering somewhat the day after from some very sore muscles! My local newspaper wants to do a story now the event has passed which will be great exposure for the charity.
Update since they have been back home Kerry contacted her local newspaper, The Wokinham Paper, who have just run a story on their climb up Scafell, further highlighting and raising awareness of ectopics, thank you so much Kerry.
I'm raising awareness so women like me get the support they need from this charity
Once Kerry returned home she contacted her local newspaper, The Wokingham Paper, who ran a story on their climb up Scafell, further highlighting and raising awareness of ectopics.
Hannah and Dan's Memory Walk in the Pyrenees Mountains
We were immensely proud and thankful to Hannah and Dan who raised huge awareness and valuable funds for two charities us and SANDS. They chose to walk in the Pyrenees for 10 days to honour their son, Billy.
Hannah and Dan have had an extremely difficult journey to parenthood. They have suffered a devastating ectopic pregnancy with led to a long emotional and physical recovery. Sadly following their ectopic, a year later Hannah and Dan were faced with further immense grief when their son Billy was born prematurely and very poorly. Billy was bestowed with intense love from Hannah and Dan during his short life. They say that both charities really helped them to make sense of their losses and supported them through these very tough times.
They completed their emotional walk this October over Billy’s due date, climbing a total of 4,700 metres. They said it was hard work but incredibly beautiful and they really enjoyed their time there. We are honoured and so proud of Hannah and Dan for bravely doing this walk, a lovely tribute to Billy.
Steph and Brad scale the heights of Snowdon
We are so grateful to Steph and Brad who climbed Snowdon, at an elevation of 1,085 metres with a very supportive group of friends. Despite the unseasonably conditions in July – cold, windy and rainy they did it taking 5 1/2 hours.
They found it an exhausting and emotional walk but we are so proud of them for achieving this climb, raising vital awareness and funds.
Jade and Matt Climb Scafell Pike
Jade and Matt climbed Scafell Pike, at an elevation of 978 metres the highest mountain in England. They picked a glorious day awarding them amazing views at the top. Wishing them also a very happy wedding day when they can re arrange.
Jade and Matt’s Story:
In July 2019 whilst on holiday I suffered an ectopic pregnancy, even though I knew what one was we were still in utter shock. After being discharged from hospital I felt that we were not given any support in terms of what had happened and what our future would look like. I started looking for as much information as I could find on the internet and came across EPT. From FAQs to forums, EPT gave me the support I needed and hope for the future. We decided to climb Scafell Pike on our honeymoon and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to give back to an amazing charity. Covid-19 may have made it a pre-honeymoon but I’m so glad that we were still able to do the climb when we had originally planned.
We found the challenge harder than expected and also quite emotional. It felt like a never-ending staircase but with my fiancé Matt’s encouragement reminding me why we were doing it, I got there in the end and it felt incredible. We completed it in 4 1/2 hours.
If you are inspired by our intrepid mountain climbers and would like to raise funds and awareness for The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust, please visit our fundraising page.