A GREAT Horwood man is scaling western Europe’s highest mountain to raise awareness of the wonderful work of the local children’s hospital where his son has been treated.
Experienced climber Gordon Stewart, aged 42, has got together a team of four friends for the attempt on Mont Blanc next month.
And as well as raising awareness, he hopes to raise money for the Oxford Children’s Hospital, on the John Radcliffe Hospital site, where his younger son Ewan, aged 21 months has been cared for since he was seven months old.
Ewan suffers from a gastric condition which means he can very suddenly become violently ill and dehydrated, and is failing to thrive.
Househusband Mr Stewart told the Advertiser: “John Radcliffe has been wonderful to us as a family. It’s our local children’s hospital and I feel like I want to give something back. It’s about spreading the good word and telling people how well we’ve been looked after.
“We’ve had quite a hard road with Ewan and they’ve looked after us very well.”
Mr Stewart and his friends will set off on August 11, with a view to ascending the 4,807m summit on August 17.
He said: “It’s over three miles high, it’s not a hill for the fainthearted, it does kill people. The air temperature at the top will probably be -25°C and if you put a wind on that you’re looking at -50°C. There are several points along the way where things get a bit hairy. You have to know what you’re doing.”
Mr Stewart said local companies, including HG Timber in Radclive and the Big Rock climbing centre in Milton Keynes, have been generous with sponsorship.
“It’s been absolutely amazing how local companies have been willing to help,” he said: “It renews my faith in human beings. It’s brilliant.”
And he added: “It’s been a long journey. There’s so many emotions and feelings. It’s my child and all I’m trying to do is let people know how good our local children’s hospital is.
“It’s very comforting to know they are very close and very good.”
For more information, visit www.littlepeoplesbigchallenge.co.uk