A former Cookstown woman is preparing to climb South America’s highest mountain to help raise funds for research into oesophageal cancer.
Dr Emma Smyth now lives and works in the Yorkshire Dales but is part of an energetic group who are ‘Climbing Mountains to Beat Cancer’.
Climbing the Aconcagua in Argentine this month has a personal side to it as her dad Dr Ernie Smyth, who retired three years ago after being a GP in Cookstown for 40 years, was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in October.
It came as a surprise to the 68-year-old as he was very active enjoying cycling - mountain biking - golfing and fishing.
Emma and her partner, Phil Purdy, and the rest of the team, have raised more than £300,000 for various Cancer Research UK projects since 2009.
They travelled to South America at the weekend and hope to start climbing Aconcagua, which stands at almost 23,000 feet, this week.
Emma and Phil are keen climbers and have so far conquered Cho Oyu (Nepal), Everest, Kilimanjaro, Matterhorn and Elbrus and in the process helped to raise thousands of pounds to help research into cancer.
“Recently, we received the sad news that my dad had been diagnosed with oesophageal cancer,” said Emma, who is hoping to complete ‘the seven summits.’
“My dad is courageous and strong and is determined to fight this disease. He is thrilled that Phil and I have committed to undertaking our next climb to specifically raise money for Cancer Research UK for further and much needed research into the treatment of oesophageal cancer.”
“The fundraising isn’t for me, but if it can help in some small way to improving the prospects of those affected by this dreadful disease then it’s been very worthwhile,” said Ernie.
Emma said since they launched the fundraising on Facebook they have been overwhelmed by the tremendous support and kindness of their families and friends, of which a significant proportion has been donated by the Cookstown community
"In just a few days, we have already raised nearly £3000 and it's increasing," she said.
If you would like to join others from Mid Ulster who have made a donation go to https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/myprojects/lung-cancer-support-vital-research-into-lifesaving-treatments