A Head for Heights

Our very own Headteacher and her son, who are stepping up to scale Mount Kilimanjaro next month, are on target to reach their lofty fundraising goal.

Marie George, 39, of the Stockland Green School, and her 18-year-old son Charlie, a former Arthur Terry School head boy, hope to raise £10,000 for Lupus UK, following their ambitious climb on 6th August.

The plucky pair will begin the 5,895m ascent in memory of Marie’s late mother, and Charlie’s grandmother, Lorraine, who died from the autoimmune disease, Lupus, in 1991. The timing of the trek is particularly fitting, as this year would have been Lorraine’s 60thbirthday.

In addition to the climb, Marie and Charlie’s fundraising efforts have included taking part in the Birmingham Half Marathon and an 11,000ft skydive. The headteacher’s nine-year-old son, Freddie, who attends Sutton’s Hill West Primary School, even shaved his head to boost their current total to just under £7,000.

Marie said: “Mum left a huge hole in my life and I work hard to keep her memory alive, with this in mind I have embarked on a fundraising campaign to mark this milestone in her life.”

The climb will take the pair seven days to complete, including an extra acclimatisation day to hopefully give them the best chance of getting to the summit.

Marie said: “We are both excited but nervous as it’s a huge undertaking. I am happy to be doing this with Charlie as we have a great relationship, though Charlie is most concerned about having to share a tent with me, as he says I snore!

I never got an opportunity to do anything like this with my mum, so we will be creating memories that will last with him when I’m no longer around.”

Marie began training to improve her fitness last year in preparation for the Birmingham Half Marathon and continues to keep her stamina levels up by going to the gym, running, swimming, playing netball and regular walking to wear in her walking boots.

The trek is among a number of initiatives fearless fundraisers Marie and Charlie have completed to raise money for the worthy cause. In addition to the half marathon, skydive and head shaving, activities have included a bingo & band night, Christmas card sales, raffles, auctions.
Marie’s mother, Lorraine, died following being diagnosed with SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus) which is an autoimmune disease affecting any part of the body  as the immune system attacks the body’s own cells and tissues. She was a local lady who attended the Bishop Walsh School in Sutton Coldfield.

Marie said: “For my mum, her Lupus affected her skin, joints, kidneys, lungs and her brain. She was only finally diagnosed the week she actually died and her symptoms had progressed too far to treat.

“There is no cure for Lupus, however there are treatments which help to control the symptoms. Lupus continues to affect my family as my cousin on my mum’s side of the family was diagnosed in June 2002. My mum’s symptoms meant that a Lupus test was insisted upon for my cousin and hers was diagnosed early. Although her Lupus is under control at the moment, she often has flare ups which leave her very poorly.

“The trek will be an immense personal challenge, but one I know my mum would be exceptionally proud of us doing.”

Link to the article which has appeared in the local press
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