Tom’s taking the walk of his life!

On 20th October, 16-year-old local boy Tom Cheveley will attempt to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. At 19,341 ft, Kilimanjaro is not only Africa’s highest peak but also the world’s tallest free-standing mountain. Making a six-day ascent along the ‘Machame’ route, Tom is aiming to reach the summit (Uhuru Peak) shortly after dawn on 26th October.

Tom is undertaking this climb to raise funds for Cardiac Risk in the Young, a charity which is dedicated to providing support for the families of victims of Young Sudden Cardiac Death (YSCD). The organisation also facilitates screening for abnormalities and latent conditions in young people between the ages of 14 and 35 and invests in research into the condition. Sudden cardiac death is a term which encompasses a number of causes of cardiac arrest in young people. It is defined as an event which is unexpected, and which results in sudden cardiac arrest in a person who was previously in normal health. If any of the cardiac abnormalities and conditions is undetected then an apparently healthy person can be affected seemingly out of nowhere. The charity also spreads awareness not only helping to identify those people at risk but also ensuring correct clinical procedures are followed when treating young people with inherited cardiac conditions.

Tom was inspired to support this charity by the sudden and tragic passing of one of his contemporaries at school, at the age of just 18, during a football match. Despite prior knowledge of a cardiac condition he was an otherwise healthy young man and a very promising and talented sportsperson. This same condition affects a significant number of young athletes each year and is still considered to be a difficult medical challenge to identify and prevent. Young athletes are twice as likely to experience YSCD as non-athletes and the average age they are likely to experience it is 17.5 years.

Tom was also inspired to make this climb by his father who reached the summit of Kilimanjaro just a few years previously, and since then Tom has been determined to attempt the climb. Tom’s father had climbed Kilimanjaro alongside an old school friend who had recently recovered from a life-threatening brain tumour, in order to raise funds for the medical unit where he received his treatment.

Should you wish to support this very worthwhile cause, Tom is raising sponsorship through a virgin money giving page at www.uk.virginmoneygiving.com/TomCheveley. Tom has funded all the costs of the climb himself and so any donations will go directly to Cardiac Risk in the Young.