A group of brain tumour survivors from across the UK, including one from Ellesmere Port are set to scale new heights as they prepare to conquer Mount Toubkal in the Atlas Mountains.

This incredible journey in North Africa will be a real test of their resilience and determination. The team members, all diagnosed with brain tumours, have undergone gruelling treatments that have left lasting side effects.

These include facial palsy, hearing loss, balance issues, impaired vision and chronic fatigue to name just a few. Yet despite the challenges they have faced, they have come together to take on this monumental challenge.

Among them is Sara Crosland from Ellesmere Port, who was diagnosed in February 2018. Having been treated at Manchester Salford Royal, she now faces daily challenges caused by the effects of damage from the tumour, and its treatment.

Sara Crosland and son Daniel.

Sara Crosland and son Daniel.

Last year, Sara set up The Beyond Recovery Project. Being a brain tumour survivor herself, she recognises the gaps in support once treatments are finished and the impact this has on patients.

'A new normal can still be a real challenge'

A huge advocate of harnessing the power of nature for healing and recovery, she said: “Treatment is finished, follow up appointments and contact with medical professionals become few and far between, yet the life-changing effects of a brain tumour diagnosis are often still there.

"Years later, navigating a new normal can still be a real challenge and not without its problems. People frequently misunderstand just how much of a challenge surviving can be.”

Sara Crosland during her treatment following the discovery of a brain tumour.

Sara Crosland during her treatment following the discovery of a brain tumour.

Now six years post surgery, she added: “During the first few years, I received incredible after care from Salford Royal, but now I’m left to navigate my own recovery.

'Humbling and inspiring'

"Setting up The Beyond Recovery Project has been massively motivating to me; it gives me a focus and goal to get out there and train – even on my worst days.

"To have witnessed how hard the team have worked to overcome the many challenges they face in order to tackle this mountain, has been both humbling and inspiring.”

By embarking on this adventure, the team hope to inspire others facing similar battles and raise awareness about the importance of supporting brain tumour survivors on their journey to recovery.

Sara will be joined by her son Daniel, who will be supporting the team.

About being part of the challenge, he said: “Having seen what my mum went through with her own diagnosis and the impact it had on the family as a whole, being part of this challenge is important to me because I want to help others see that despite facing massive challenges in life, with the right mindset and support, we can still go on to achieve amazing things.

Daniel in training for the hiking challenge.

Daniel in training for the hiking challenge.

"Whilst my mum ‘appears’ normal, she has not been left unscathed by the ordeal. She inspires me every single day to set high standards for myself, and what I can achieve.”

About the project

The trip to Mount Toubkal has been organised and funded by The Beyond Recovery Project.

It is a non-profit Community Interest Company (CIC), dedicated to supporting the physical and mental health and wellbeing of brain tumour survivors through outdoor and nature-based activities and therapies.

The services and experiences it provides, not only offer survivors an opportunity to reconnect with nature, but they also serve as a catalyst for personal growth, self-confidence and renewed hope.

The Beyond Recovery Project provides opportunities for those living with the impact of a brain tumour diagnosis to take part in easy walks, well-being events and bigger challenges.

Sara added: “Recovery certainly doesn’t come with a handbook. Navigating this journey can be incredibly difficult.

"The Beyond Recovery Project is all about bringing together others on the same or similar journey, creating a ‘safe’ space and sense of community where survivors can share experiences and learn how to push beyond the physical and psychological barriers they face.”

Throughout the challenge, the team will be fundraising for The Beyond Recovery Project, and The British Acoustic Neuroma Association (BANA).

To support them, visit their fundraising page at www.givewheel.com/fundraising/2450/jebel-toubkal-challenge-2024/

To learn more about The Beyond Recovery Project and their mission, visit www.thebeyondrecoveryproject.org