By Garry Clarke
GOALKEEPER Graeme McCall’s name was missing from the Rylands FC team sheet for a couple of weeks in October but he certainly was not just putting his feet up taking a rest.
The Rylands number one along with four friends – Liam Pilkington, John Bullen, Gregg Jaymes & Jonathon Keddie – was in Africa climbing the world’s tallest free standing mountain.
Their goal in reaching the summit of the 19,341 ft high (above sea level) Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania wasto raise money for “The Lilac Centre” based in Whiston and St Helens hospitals which cares for cancer patients and their families.
Graeme explained his reasons behind the climb: “It is becoming all too frequent that you hear about so many people being affected by Cancer in some form or other however, it wasn’t until my own sister was recently diagnosed with breast cancer that it hit home how tough the battle and journey really is not only for her but also for her family and friends”.
“Only by being thrown into this life changing situation you come to realise how tirelessly hard NHS staff, individual groups and charities work to make this difficult time as comfortable as possible for the patients and families of those affected by this disease. The various heart-warming touches provided by the NHS staff at my sister’s hospital have inspired me to want to give something back and to help other families affected in the same way.”
“Upon sharing my ambitions of fund raising with my work colleagues at Bolton Steel Structures they too were inspired by my sister’s story and generously pledged help raise funds and awareness. They began the fundraising by offering the chance of a lifetime for me and some fellow colleagues to fly to Africa to Trek to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. This act of kindness in its self deserves worthy recognition and I can’t thank them enough for providing this fantastic opportunity to raise money for such an important cause”.
Before setting out Graeme said “It’s going to be a tough battle to get to the top but nowhere near as tough as the battle thousands go through with their own battle with cancer”. On his return he described the six days spent on the mountain to Warrington Worldwide as “horrendous.”
Having prepared for the trip by undertaking a weekend boot camp he continued “It was the hardest thing I have ever done, I had altitude sickness from the second day and since returning have been receiving treatment for malaria”.
“I set my stall high as I wanted to raise £15,000”. A total which has already been surpassed but further contributions are still being accepted because Graeme says “once the £15,000 has been donated to the Lilac Centre any extra funds will be donated to other local cancer charities”.
Donations can be made via Graeme’s JustGiving page at https://bit.ly/2okzQOU or Graeme can be contacted through Rylands Football Club.
Graeme expressed his thanks to all who have contributed and acknowledged the support he has received from his club saying “Since starting this fund raising Rylands have gone the extra mile to help me raise funds and understand the time away from the club I need”