Three peaks quest to thank Darcie’s heroes

The intrepid crew with a minibus donated for the day by Cook's Van Hire in Newtown ' back row from left, Sean Fraser, Barry Simpson, Lee Sinclair and Jamie Revels and, front,  James Mains and Alan Morrison. Not pictured are Cameron Rice, Gordon Grant, Chris McCabe and Stuart Thornton.
The intrepid crew with a minibus donated for the day by Cook's Van Hire in Newtown ' back row from left, Sean Fraser, Barry Simpson, Lee Sinclair and Jamie Revels and, front, James Mains and Alan Morrison. Not pictured are Cameron Rice, Gordon Grant, Chris McCabe and Stuart Thornton.

If conquering one mountain does not say thank-you enough, why not climb three in one day?

Galashiels dad Sean Fraser, 51, has rounded up a few of his pals to do just that to raise some cash for the hospital he says kept his daughter Darcie alive against the odds.

Nine-yeat-old Darcie Fraser with the brace she needs to wear.

Nine-yeat-old Darcie Fraser with the brace she needs to wear.

Darcie, now nine, was born with a rare form of congenital diaphragmatic hernia, meaning she had no diaphragm at all.

In a healthy body, the layer of muscle and tissue separates organs in the chest from those in the abdomen – so all Darcie’s lower organs had moved up into her chest, crowding her heart.

As if that wasn’t enough, Darcie’s mum Laura took ill after her birth and almost died.

However, when Darcie was three days old and nine inches long, surgeons at Glasgow’s Royal Hospital for Children at Yorkhill were able to put in place an artificial diaphragm, made out of a Gore-Tex patch, attached to her rib cage and heart muscles.

It was a terrifying time for the family.

Sean, a bin lorry driver for Scottish Borders Council, said: “We stay 100 miles away from the hospital and were understandably scared, but the care this hospital provided, not only to our daughter, but us too, at one of the most traumatic times of my life can never be appreciated enough and nothing could ever thank them enough.

“The staff helped us stay close to Darcie by getting us in to Ronald McDonald House, where we lived for six months.

“It was, without a doubt, the hardest six months of our lives.

“Watching our girl get slowly better and others sadly not is a bittersweet situation.

“The last nine years have been an uphill battle for Darcie with regular appointments at the Glasgow hospital to monitor how she is doing, how the patch is holding up, how the heart is coping and when to expect open-heart surgery. The hospital staff go above and beyond on every single visit.”

After her latest scan, the doctors have said they are happy to just monitor her and are hopeful she will not need surgery within the next two years, so Sean decided the time was right to try to give something back.

He and several friends and colleagues have decided to take on a three peaks challenge on June 1, scaling the highest mountains in Scotland (Ben Nevis, at 4,409ft), England (Scafell Pike, at 3,209ft) and Wales (Snowdon, at 3560ft), all in 24 hours.

Joining Sean on the journey are Barry Simpson, Jamie Revels, Cameron Rice, Chris McCabe, James Mains, Alan Morrison, Stuart Thornton, Lee Sinclair and Gordon Grant.

Sean said: “All the guys also have sponsor forms and are doing their bit to raise funds for the hospital as well. They are absolute legends.”

If climbing the mountains themselves were not enough, one of the things which makes this challenge so difficult is the logistics involved in moving all the men and their kit between the climbs.

Sean said: “Cook’s Van Hire in Newtown has come up trumps by donating a minibus to allow the challenge to go ahead.”

Sean has launched a JustGiving page to make it easy for people to donate, and every penny will be heading to the Glasgow kids’ hospital.

The page has so far raised more than £1,000, but Sean would like to add as much as possible to that.

He said: “Please could you donate, however small, to help us help the hospital to continue to do what they excel at, saving the lives of all our precious children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews.”