Determined to raise money for Shona

AN adventurer who undertook a gruelling challenge climbing an African mountain for charity is today determined to carry on fundraising - despite falling ill during the expedition.

AN adventurer who undertook a gruelling challenge climbing an African mountain for charity is today determined to carry on fundraising - despite falling ill during the expedition.

David Simpson, from Ipswich, spent eight days climbing to the summit at 19,340 feet and descending from Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

The 22-year-old managed to raise several thousand pounds from the climb for The Shona Smile Foundation, a charity set up to raise money for children suffering from rhabdomyosarcoma, a form of cancer, after hearing about the organisation from a friend.

At the top of the mountain Mr Simpson, who works at the Halifax bank in Stowmarket town centre and undertook the expedition with an expert guide, suffered kidney problems and started to bleed internally.


You may also want to watch:


He said: “At the summit it was unbelievable, you are two miles above cloud level looking down on a sea of clouds and the sun rises through them. But physically it was very, very demanding even though I had been training for eight months, in gyms three or four times a week, running and drinking no alcohol.

“It was so, so difficult, and so many people on the mountain were turning back.

Most Read

“The climate went from about 30C (86F) to -25C (-13F) and at the bottom we were going through rainforests to ice everywhere where even the water we carried froze.

“I knew that I just had to carry on, there was no way I was letting people down. But at the summit we suddenly realized that my kidneys were not working properly. We had to get back down quickly and at the bottom I was checked over and rested and have suffered no long term damage.

“Despite the pain it was worth it, it was a life changing experience, and makes you realize that if you put your mind to it you can do anything.”

After his August climb Mr Simpson now plans to swim the Channel in tandem with a friend to raise more funds for the foundation and possibly other charities, and is starting training for the challenge soon.

What do you think of Mr Simpson's fundraising? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

The Shona Smile Foundation was set up to raise money for children suffering from rhabdomyosarcoma, a form of cancer.

It was founded by Peter Gill, a police officer from Ipswich whose daughter Shona died of the illness in 2004, aged ten.

They aim to help in one of several ways including giving cash donations to families who may be suffering hardship due to the financial cost of cancer, or by making a child's dream come true.

In the future as the foundation grows it is hoped they will be able to fund research into rhabdomyosarcoma, which accounts for up to eight per cent of childhood cancers.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter