Asthma sufferer climbs Ben Nevis in charity effort

Rachel McCarthy (front) with her sister in law, Nikki Stout, and father David Ward in a snowstorm on Ben Nevis.
Rachel McCarthy (front) with her sister in law, Nikki Stout, and father David Ward in a snowstorm on Ben Nevis.

A former Louth woman and daughter of Louth Hockey Club chairwoman, Lesley Ward, has completed a mammoth task and scaled Ben Nevis for an asthma charity.

Rachel McCarthy, who has suffered from asthma since she was 22, battled snow storms in August to climb the Scottish peak with her 
father, David Ward. She was part of a group that raised £7,000 for Asthma UK.

Rachel, who now lives in Lincoln, began experiencing symptoms of asthma when she was 22. Over the last 20 years her health has slowly deteriorated. She explains the impact on her life: “I run my own business along with supporting my husband with his. I was working at the office and literally going 
straight home to bed by 5pm.

“I am only 43 and I was finding that my life was becoming very reclusive. I’ve lost friends as I’ve been unable to go out and enjoy myself for many, many years.”

Fortunately for Rachel, a new medication called Mepolizumab, available through the specialist asthma clinic at Leicester’s Hospitals, has transformed her life.

Through attending the clinic, Rachel has been invited to participate in various research projects at the centre.

She said: “I haven’t looked back. I’ve had zero admissions for my asthma and I’ve not been on a course of steroids since October 2017, which is absolutely amazing.”

In what might have an unthinkable challenge just 12 months ago, Rachel decided to climb Ben Nevis to raise money to support research into asthma. On August 24, she realised this ambition with 14 others, conquering the landmark in just 11 hours.

Rachel said: “It by far has been the hardest challenge I’ve ever done, bearing in mind less than a year ago I was in and out of hospital with uncontrolled severe asthma.

“Simple things, such as climbing a flight of stairs at home, were mammoth tasks for me. I’ve had a lifeline fitted at home, as the last asthma attack I had I was drifting in and out of unconsciousness.

“I’d like to thank my wonderful team of family, work colleagues and friends. I couldn’t have done it without them. My mum and dad (Lesley and David Ward) for being my superheroes; my sister (Rebecca) for her love and support; and my sister-in-law (Nikki Stout) who guided me through the climb and was my driving force throughout.”

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