Brain tumour mum gears up for three peaks challenge

Kim McNicol

Brain tumour patient Kim McNicol is preparing to take on the Yorkshire three peaks challenge. - Credit: Brain Tumour Research

Kim McNicol, a brain tumour patient from Essex is preparing to take on a three peaks challenge, which will see her walk 24.5 miles and climb more than 1,600 metres in 12 hours.

The 57-year-old mum-of-two from Dedham will be taking on the Yorkshire three peaks challenge, which includes the Pen-Y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough peaks, alongside her eldest son, Ross and his girlfriend, Lauren, from Ipswich.

The group, dubbed 'the three musketeers' are raising money for Brain Tumour Research.

Alan, Callum, Kim, Lauren and Ross

Kim will be taking the challenge alongside her eldest son, Ross, and his girlfriend, Lauren, from Ipswich. - Credit: Brain Tumour Research

Kim's vestibular schwannoma was undiagnosed for two years, even missed on an MRI scan, before being found a year ago. Symptoms included hearing problems, inability to walk straight, and an uncontrolled shuffling of her feet. 

Kim said: “When I don’t go to my coach I try to walk every day and I’m building up my miles. Last weekend I walked around Alton Walter in Suffolk, which is eight miles, so I’m on track.”

Kim has since undergone care to stop further growth of the tumour, and is being monitored with regular scans, but has suffered hearing loss of around 90% in her right ear.

She said: “Now that I’m more aware of brain tumours, I’m shocked by how prevalent they are and by the lack of funding they get compared to other cancers.

“I think that, seeing as I’ve been so lucky where many others aren’t, I just feel like I want to do what I can to help. The Yorkshire Three Peaks may seem like a small thing but I feel like I need to do it.

“I also want to give myself a bit of a challenge because life is short. Your whole attitude to life changes after something like a brain tumour diagnosis.

Kim McNicol

Kim McNicol, from Dedham, is taking on the Yorkshire three peaks challenge - Credit: Brain Tumour Research

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“I’ve been lucky and I’m still here so I want to do what I can whilst I can. I want to live life and, although I do get really tired, I’m feeling positive about the future and excited about my upcoming challenge."

Community development manager for Brain Tumour Research,  Charlie Allsebrook, said: "We were saddened to learn of the struggles Kim had in getting diagnosed and the hearing loss she suffered as a result of her tumour.

"We’re very grateful for all her support and wish her, Ross and Lauren the best of luck with their challenge.

"It’s only with the help of supporters like them that we’re able to continue funding vital research into brain tumours.

"Only 12% of brain tumour patients survive beyond five years of their diagnosis and in England someone is diagnosed with a brain tumour every two hours; we’re determined to change this.”

A link to the group's fundraising page can be found here.

Kim McNicol with head frame

Kim's vestibular schwannoma was undiagnosed for two years, even missed on an MRI scan, before being found a year ago. Symptoms included hearing problems, inability to walk straight, and an uncontrolled shuffling of her feet. - Credit: Brain Tumour Research