Simon Birkby

Simon's Kilimanjaro climb - in memory of my Dad

Fundraising for Cancer Research UK
raised of £2,000 target
by 115 supporters
In memory of Howard Birkby
Cancer Research UK

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RCN 1089464, SC041666, 1103 & 247
We pioneer life-saving cancer research to help us beat cancer


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Did it!

Summit 0720 19/10/2023.

Dug deep physically and most of all mentally, but got there.

Thank you all so much you lovely generous people - together we will kick big C's arse. xx

UPDATE 11/10/23 - D-1! Set off tomorrow! Excited, nervous but determined. 💪

UPDATE 01/09/23 - Post.Covid cancelling my original 2020 plans I have now re-booked for trip 12-22/10/2023. IN FINAL STAGES OF PLANNING, HAVE 99% OF GEAR, VACCINATED, ALL CONNECTION FLIGHTS ETC. BOOKED, JUST WAITING ON VISA. NO GOING BACK NOW!!!!

Update 07/10/19 - it was pointed out to me yesterday that some people might think they are contributing towards a holiday for me - not at all. My trip is entirely self-funded i.e. I am paying for all of my trip costs myself - anything raised via this sponsorship GOES IMMEDIATELY TO CANCER RESEARCH UK.


OK, no going back now - some buttons you push because you know you can't unpush them. I hope you'll give me a few minutes of your time.

30th March of this year (2018) saw the death of my Dad, Howard Birkby, after an all too brief period of some 13-14 months between diagnosis of cancer and him sadly leaving us.  

He progressed from an initial expectation of treatment of an ocular melanoma, to this rapidly becoming a removal of his right eye, through unsuccessful immunotherapy treatment, and then to a seemingly unbelievably quick confirmation that there was to be no successful treatment at all. 

Cancer is horrible in any form and I would not wish the awful sentence that the last year and some has been on anyone, truly serial killers on death row get it easier. I am so proud of him for how he dealt with it.

There was nothing any of us could do for my Dad, and we can only be grateful that this didn't impact on his life until later, when he had at least seen his two children grow up, marry, and had met all four grandchildren; sad though it is for me that he never heard my youngest James' voice or saw him walk properly.

However, we are grateful for all of the support that we received from family and friends, and also from the supporting services.

So, as with many others I have admired in the past, I have decided to try and give something back. Well, to be honest, it's that, a sign of respect for my Dad and, if anyone remembers the TV show "Why don't you?", there's a touch of that also. Sometimes you just have to step out of your comfort zone to prove that there is more to life.

Dad loved hill-walking and particularly in the Lake District near his home town of Barrow-in-Furness so I thought something related would be a fitting tribute and hopefully raise some money. Scrambling across Striding Edge to Helvellyn with him when I was far from the size I am now is a memory I will always have - although I was a bit scared then, I still wanted him to be proud - and the same is still true. I did tell him what I was thinking before we had to say goodbye and he loved it, his only regret being that he couldn't come with me, so there's no going back now.

A Japanese admiral received an order in December 1941 saying "Climb Mount Niitaka" which told him to attack Pearl Harbour and then started a war with the United States. That was also a horrible time, but I've decided to steal the expression for good use and, in my own little way, I've ordered myself to "Climb Mount Kilimanjaro" in Tanzania and hopefully contribute to the far more worthy war on cancer.

I'm well aware that this isn't going to be a Sunday morning stroll - Kilimanjaro is the highest free-standing mountain in the world at 5,895 metres (19,341 ft), Everest is less than 3,000 metres higher and there is not much oxygen at the top - it's going to be tough and many people have to give up, but I'm determined to give it a go. For comparison, the highest mountain in the U.K., Ben Nevis, is 1,345 metres (4,413 ft).

You might remember the Comic Relief trip from a few years back. there's a really good film of that here, I might do a slightly different route and I'm going to use a professional guide organisation - probably Action Challenge, it's probably a 7-8 day trek with travelling either side and will require a fair bit of planning and training. So my current target is October 2020. I haven't really got a fundraising target in mind, I just want to get there, take a couple of things of my Dad's with me and raise a bit for Cancer Research UK, I will leave the amount of fundraising to the generosity of others. I would be delighted if you want to make a contribution now as the funds go straight to work with Cancer Research UK, but I will obviously be knocking down a few doors closer to the time.

I'm quite happy to do it on my own, as it is a massive commitment and I am humbled by the support my wife Beverley is giving me - it's not just an overnight stay and we'll still have two little ones to look after - a bit older than when I first planned this trip in 2020, but it's a lot on Beverley's plate.

Thank you for reading, I know so many of you have had similar battles with this horrible evil, here's to remembering those who lost theirs and hoping that this can be a contribution so that we can keep battling to beat it entirely.

About the charity

Cancer Research UK

Verified by JustGiving

RCN 1089464, SC041666, 1103 & 247
We‘re the world‘s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving and improving lives through research. We fund research into the prevention, detection and treatment of more than 200 types of cancer through the work of over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses.

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