Twickenham woman climbs Mount Kilimanjaro after making childhood pact

4 November 2014

A Twickenham woman climbed Mount Kilimanjaro for cancer prevention after making a childhood pact with her friend that she would scale it before she was 30-years-old.

Claire Madden, 29, from Thames Eyot, Cross Deep, joined her friend, Victoria Phillips, 26, to scale Africa’s tallest mountain, raising money for cancer prevention charity World Cancer Research Fund in the process.

It’s been Claire’s dream to reach Kilimanjaro’s top since she was 12-years-old.

The pair chose World Cancer Research Fund, which funds cancer prevention research and provides health information, after a number of their relatives and friends were diagnosed with the devastating disease.

The pair climbed the 19,341 feet high Tanzanian mountain last week (week of 12 – 20 October), despite having never tackled a mountain before.

Claire, a project manager, said that she and Victoria, a vet, were prompted to take up the challenge because they have both seen friends and relatives experience the devastating effects of cancer.

“We know so many people who have suffered from cancer and have seen how painful it is for them, their friends and their families,” Claire said.

“Last year alone I knew six people suffering from cancer.

“We thought that this would be a real challenge and worthy of people’s sponsorship. It was incredibly hard, but it’s nothing compared to what people who suffer from cancer go through – our climb pales into comparison to their experience.”

The pair initially promised that they would climb the world’s biggest free-standing mountain as part of their ‘bucket list’ goals before they were 30.

Claire said: “We made the pact when we were 12, when 30 seemed so old! Now I want to tell my younger self that 30 isn’t really that ancient at all.

“We realised we had to complete it for our bucket challenge – but the real motivation was seeing so many people we care about fight this disease.”

The friends have already raised hundreds of pounds for World Cancer Research Fund, which funds cancer prevention research and helps people reduce their risk of developing the disease.

Scientists estimate that about a third of common cancers could be prevented through a healthy diet, weight management and regular physical activity.

The charity delivers practical advice and tips to help people lead happier, healthier, cancer-free lives.

“We wanted to raise money for cancer prevention because we think it’s important that people realise that they can protect themselves from some cancers,” Claire said.

“If we can help people avoid going through the upsetting experience that our relatives and friends have gone through, this climb will be worth it.”

Paul Fretwell, Head of Fundraising, said: “This is no easy challenge to tackle, so we’re incredibly grateful that this brave pair have decided to do this for our charity.

“It’s people like Claire and Victoria who are helping to save thousands of people from developing a preventable cancer.

To sponsor the duo and help prevent cancer, visit their sponsor webpage or call the charity on 020 7343 4200.

Notes to editors:

More quotes available.

About World Cancer Research Fund UK:

  • World Cancer Research Fund is the leading authority on cancer prevention research related to diet, weight and physical activity. We fund and support scientific research, conduct policy and provide health information.
  • We ensure that people can make informed lifestyle choices to reduce their risk of preventable cases of cancer and live healthy lives.
  • Our analysis of global research shows that about a third of the most common cancers are preventable through a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight and regular physical activity.