A Littlehampton woman has scaled Kilimanjaro in memory of her mother to raise money for St Barnabas House hospice in Worthing.
Chantal Cox, 25, said she was proud of her mum Shirley Goldie, who had fought chronic lung disease to the end, and she wanted to spread her ashes at the top of the mountain to set her free.
Shirley, who also lived in Littlehampton, had idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which scars the lungs and makes breathing increasingly difficult.
Chantal said the conditions on the mountain had affected her own breathing and made her appreciate what her mum had been through.
Shirley was referred to St Barnabas House in March, which Chantal said ‘gave her a sense of comfort in her surroundings which the family were so relieved to see’.
Shirley passed away on September 16, 2019, the month before the trip, so Chantal decided to take some of her mother’s ashes with her to Tanzania.
Chantal said: “Getting to the top was really emotional and a bit of a blur. All I wanted to do was spread Mum’s ashes and let her be free.
“Mum knew that I had booked this trip and was looking forward to seeing me do it. I knew that trekking up to the summit with her right by my side would make it an even more special occasion.”
Chantal spent five days trekking in challenging conditions and extreme temperatures.
She said: “The lack of oxygen at times meant that just moving made me out of breath and I kept thinking that this is how Mum must have felt.
“It made me appreciate what I was doing a lot more because every time I was struggling, I thought of Mum and what she had to go through. The challenges that I was facing were nothing compared to what Mum had to face every single day.
“On the summit day, we climbed a total of 2,000 metres and there’s not much you can do to prepare your body for that. During that last push, I suffered from severe altitude sickness and had never felt so ill, but I wasn’t going to let it stop me.
“It was really emotional when we finally reached the top for sunrise and my tears just froze as it was -20 degrees. The skies were clear, beautiful and blue and we could see for miles, however with winds growing stronger and stronger at a blink of an eye we were hurried off the top of the summit by the porters.
“I was determined to spread Mum’s ashes, though, as I knew she would want to finally fly free from the hospital beds and oxygen masks that had consumed her.
“Mum fought right up until the end and for that I’m so proud to call her my Mum. She’s nothing short of a hero and I will love her forever.”
Chantal raised £602, twice her target and enough to fund more than two days of day hospice care.
Chantal said: “Nurses would pop round to see Mum at home and she also loved going to the day hospice each week. She said it was nice to socialise and talk to other people in a similar position and naturally grew extremely close to those around her, making some unforgettable friendships.
“We had nothing but dedicated support from all of the staff and for that, we are eternally grateful.”
Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/c-cox4 for more information.