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Rachael Cook climbing Ben Nevis

Rachael conquers ‘Big Ben’

DRIVING 60mph winds and hail weren’t enough to stop a Stafford woman who has had two kidney transplants from conquering Ben Nevis.

Rachael Cook, 32, who works in the finance department for Stafford and Rural Homes, trekked 4,406 feet to the summit of the UK’s tallest mountain and raised more than £2,500 for Kidney Research UK.

Despite being battered by the elements Rachael was determined to look as glamorous as possible for photos at the summit.

“I wore false eye lashes and even took a pair of heels to wear for the photographs at the summit, although when I got there I couldn’t face putting the shoes on,” she said.

Rachael was supported all the way on the eight-hour climb by her brother Shaun.

Both finished in the top four – out of 115 intrepid climbers – and needed eight hours to get up and down the mountain.

“Without Shaun alongside me and the support of everyone who made a donation I don’t think I could have made it. Knowing so many people were backing me was a real help towards the end when I was at my most exhausted,” said Rachael.

“I trained at Snowdon, but Ben Nevis is much rockier which meant we were all clambering quite a lot and the terrible weather made it an even bigger challenge.”

In 2000 Rachael, a finance officer at SARH, became sick with renal failure and spent the next four years needing dialysis three days a week.

She was offered a lifeline in November 2004 when her mum Carol offered to donate one of her kidneys.

Unfortunately Rachael’s body rejected the kidney and within hours she needed another operation to remove it – meaning a return to painful dialysis.

Five years later Rachael’s husband Dave donated one of his kidneys and this time the operation was a complete success.

After recovering from the second operation Rachael vowed to do a challenge every year to raise money for Kidney Research UK and has already completed a 20-kilometre bike ride and a seven-mile London Bridges Walk.

“As tough as this challenge was I’ve developed a real love of the beautiful mountain scenery and, although at the moment I’m still recovering from all the aches and pains of the climb, when I’ve fully recovered I’m thinking of preparing for a three peaks challenge,” she said.

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