Climb raised cash for US op
A DUMBARTON teenager and her pals took giant steps to help fund an operation which will allow a pair of toddler twin siblings to walk - scaling snowbound Ben Nevis in a gruelling six-hour climb.
Adventurer Louise Jess, 19, from Dumbarton, joined friends Amy Latham, 26, Kayleigh Bowie, 21, and Laura Byrne, 29, both from Clydebank, for the painstaking trudge through ice and snow to reach the 4,409ft summit.
But the fabulous foursome's achievement pales in comparison to the daily struggle faced by Amy's adorable three-year-old twin brother and sister, Jack and Rebecca.
The tots are unable to walk having been struck by diplegic palsy over a year ago.
Insurance consultant Louise and the girls raised an incredible £1,200 in their fund-raising forage.
But they still have a mountain to climb, as they need to raise £100,000 for the tots to go to America for a special procedure in which nerves will be cut in their spines allowing them to walk free from pain.
After the marathon climb a delighted but worn out Louise said every step was worth it and she and her big-hearted friends felt a great sense of achievement.
She told the Reporter: "The next day I was exhausted and my legs were really sore. It was worth it in the end though, the views from the top were amazing, it was just incredible. I don't do any exercise, and I didn't do any training. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be. It took me about nine hours to go up and back down. It was hard getting to the top, but it was worth it.
"The operation is going to cost £10,000 and this is just one of the things we're doing to raise money."
The trek, arranged by Amy's employers Axa Insurance, marks the start of a two-year campaign to get Jack and Rebecca mobile.
Amy, who climbed Ben Lomond in preparation for the trek, said: "It was just after their second birthday they were diagnosed. You couldn't pick them out of a group of other kids until the rest of the group sat up and they couldn't.
"They can both crawl and are extremely intelligent but are just not able to walk. Jack tries to get up; you can see the frustration in his face.
"In total for the operation and after care it's about £100,000 for both of them, so we have a long way to go. The operation would take place when the twins are five, so we have two years and I'm very optimistic."
To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/Amy-Latham.
This article appeared in Dumbarton & Vale of Leven Reporter 29 May 12
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