A GRAN is upping her training efforts as she prepares to tackle a Himalayan trek to help save the lives of women.
Ellen Crossley launched her campaign a year ago to support the Genesis Research Trust after family members were put at risk by complications in pregnancy.
The 53-year-old retired nurse from Boldon will travel to Nepal in six weeks as part of a 30-strong team which will spend up to seven hours a day climbing the Annapurna.
Her hill training schedule has included walking up and down to Penshaw Monument and long walks in Northumberland.
She began to back the charity after daughter Tanith MacLeod, 30, a former St Anthony’s School pupil who works in The Barnes, suffered complications after she had first son, Sebastian, now two.
She had surgery to free the placenta, which had been retained, developed a blood clot and was rushed back to Sunderland Royal Hospital four days after the birth, suffering from epilepsy.
She did not have the condition before the pregnancy, but had five fits in the six months after Sebastian’s arrival.
When Tanith and partner Stewart Buck, 32, had second son Tobias, now one, she was closely monitored and despite concerns when she showed the early signs of pre-eclampsia, he was delivered safely.
Ellen’s nephew Edward Carter, 20, who lives in London, also needs 24-hour care as he was born three months prematurely and has cerebral palsy.
Her dream of joining the six-day trek was made a reality after a fund-raising effort which saw her top her £3,200 target with an extra £500 for the charity.
Race nights, a cocktail party, pub quiz and a night hosted by a restaurant boosted the appeal alongside donations from supporters.
Ellen said: “To reach the total was just amazing. People have been absolutely fantastic.”
Ellen was introduced to many of the women she will walk alongside at an event in London, where they met Professor Robert Winston, the founding chairman of the fund.
Donations can still be made to the charity via www.justgiving.com/EllenCrossley