A woman has scaled Europe’s highest mountain for the second time for charity after her father suffered a stroke last year.
Kirsty Mack, from Bridge of Allan, climbed Mount Elbrus in Russia in 2019, as part of a fundraising campaign for Chest Heart Stroke Scotland (CHSS), which is facing a £500,000 a month funding shortfall due to coronavirus.
Kirsty has now climbed the height of Mount Elbus virtually after first reaching the peak last year – 25 years after her dad, Tom, had reached the summit.
Tom Mack MBE, a former footballer for Falkirk and Scotland international, was a Scout leader and had driven Kirsty’s interest in hillwalking from a young age.
As part of his Scouting activities Tom formed the Scout and Guide Skiing club with ties to Glenshee and also attended the first patrol Jamboree at Blair Atholl after also attending the first World Scout Jamboree, held in France, in 1947.
Two weeks before Kirsty left for Russia in June 2019, Tom, aged 89, suffered a stroke which left him completely paralysed down his right side and unable to speak.
However Kirsty decided to carry on with her trek and raise money for CHSS as her dad had been excited to see his daughter follow in his footsteps.
After a difficult year for her family, currently unable to visit their dad in his care home, Kirsty again decided to tackle the mountain for charity, this time in her home.
Kirsty said: “The first 48 hours after my dad had his stroke were truly horrendous.
“I refused to leave his side and slept on the floor next to his hospital bed, counting every breath.
“Deciding to go on the trip whilst dad’s future was still so uncertain was incredibly difficult, but I knew deep down he would have wanted me to go.
“I took one of my favourite photos of him with me and carried it in my pocket for the entire trip. It gave me strength and courage on the difficult days of the climb.
“But on those days, I knew that the mountain I was climbing was nothing in comparison to the mountain of recovery dad was about to embark upon.
” If raising money helped raise awareness around stroke symptoms, if one person had a better outcome because a stroke was identified earlier, then it was worth it.”
Jane-Claire Judson, chief executive at CHSS, said: “Because of coronavirus, money for our services is running out, just when people need our help most.
“People like Kirsty are changing that. You can join Kirsty and take on our Step Up Challenge to help raise vital funds to save our services.”
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