North east Fife charity trekkers reach a peak

AICR fundraisers in the Atlas Mountains. May 2014.
AICR fundraisers in the Atlas Mountains. May 2014.

Four local charity workers were on top of the world last week with a marathon fundraising trek.

The quartet from St Andrews-based AICR (Association for International Cancer Research) is just back from trekking the Atlas mountain range in Morocco and reaching the 13,671ft summit of Mount Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa.

It turned out to be a tough challenge for Karin Naismith (28), Suzanne Shaw (26) and Jessica Duggan (28), all of St Andrews, and Debbie Wheelans (37), from Cupar - but worth it to raise more than £8700 and be part of a group which realised a total of £40,000 for AICR.

Jessica said: “As I neared the summit, I was near breaking point.

“A whole year of preparation had brought me to this moment but the altitude had hit me hard and after five days of walking, I physically felt on the brink of collapse.

“As I shuffled one foot in front of the other, I focused on the incredible £40,000 we had raised and I kept going, not just for my friends and family, but for everyone whose lives have been touched by cancer.

“I truly believe that our contribution is going to the best cause to aid in fighting this terrible disease.”

Despite battling with the heat, lack of sleep and altitude, Debbie described it as one of the greatest experiences of her life and said there were tears of elation when they reached the summit.

“The AICR trek brought together a fantastic group of cancer researchers, charity staff, supporters and agency staff,” said Debbie.

“The Atlas Mountain trek gave us stunning scenery through all weathers, good banter, tired legs and new friendships while raising funds.

“Thanks to all who supported this challenge and gave us encouragement - it helped us reach the top.”

AICR is unique in the cancer charity field as it funds research internationally across all types of cancers.

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