Heidi to face her demons on Ben Nevis climb

Heidi Haxeltine practising her downhill walk on Tallington railway bridge EMN-140626-171959001
Heidi Haxeltine practising her downhill walk on Tallington railway bridge EMN-140626-171959001
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A leadership coach who had to be carried from a mountain after her leg muscles failed during a climb will face her demons by going up Ben Nevis.

Heidi Haxeltine will need the help of a walking stick to climb the 1,344 meter mountain - the highest in the British Isles. Nevertheless she is “determined” to complete the trek and raise money for the charity Guillain Barre and Associated Inflammatory Neuropathies (GAIN).

She said: “I got ill on a mountain. This is me reclaiming the mountain.”

Heidi, from Stamford, was on her second visit to Nepal in May 2012. She climbed the Annapurna, part of the Himalayas, and was on her way to a mountain-top village to watch the sunrise, when her legs started giving way.

Heidi, who was aged 41 at the time, said: “Gradually I began losing strength in my legs and arms. The guide kept having to lift me up and I had to be carried back down.”

The next day Heidi was airlifted to a clinic in Kathmandu where doctors diagnosed Guillain Barre Syndrome - a rare condition which occurs when the body’s immune system attacks part of the nervous system.

Heidi was transferred to a hospital in Delhi where she spent two weeks before flying back to England. She was admitted first to Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey, then spent three months in the neuro-rehabilitation centre at Bradley Unit, Woking, before moving back with her parents in Hampshire.

In February last year Heidi returned to her Rutland Road home and has been undergoing physiotherapy at Stamford Hospital ever since.

She said: “The recovery has been slow, but there has been steady progress. I can walk without crutches and step up kerbs but I cannot walk upstairs without holding on to rails.”

To improve the uphill walk and in preparation for her Ben Nevis climb on July 12, Heidi has been walking up and down the railway bridge at the Tallington Crossing, with the help of a stick.

Heidi said: “I want to climb Ben Nevis to prove that I can still do the things I used to.”

Heidi, who has already raised £2,300 for GAIN, will be accompanied by her brother Alex on her climb which she expects to complete in about 15 hours.

To sponsor Heidi go to https://www.justgiving.com/heidi-walks-up-a-mountain.