Summit beckons for hospital chief
Trust chairman mounts hospital funding challenge
THE chairman of Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is setting out to climb Africa’s highest mountain later this month.
Graham Foster plans to climb 5,895m (19,341 feet) Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in October as a personal challenge and to raise money for the hospital’s charitable funds – towards work that will support older people.
Mr Foster (55), who is married to Catherine and has three grown-up children, said: “This is part personal challenge and part an attempt to raise some money for an exciting new initiative at Kettering General Hospital called AGE (Academy for Geratology Excellence), which will be gathering research and practical evidence aimed at improving the training of nurses in caring for the elderly.
“It’s the hospital’s intention to make a big change in the way we look after our frail and elderly patients with a view to them avoiding and minimising hospital stays.
“I wanted to help with this area of health improvement as it affects so many people and their carers and families so severely – and we’re all getting older every day!”
Climbing Kilimanjaro has become a popular challenge undertaken by some 35,000 climbers and trekkers each year.
For most, it is a tough six to nine-day ascent to the summit. On average though only 45 per cent of those who take it on actually succeed – and there are ten to 15 deaths each year.
Mr Foster said: “I am paying for the cost of the trip myself and I will be accompanied by my son Steven and my brother-in-law, also called Steven.
“We plan to do the climb over eight days and will be guided and supported by climbing leaders and a team of porters.”
Hazards on the trip include slips and falls, sub-zero temperatures, stomach upsets and, most seriously, high altitude sickness – with the risk of potentially fatal complications of High Altitude Pulmonary Odema (HAPE) and High Altitude Cerebral Odema (HACE). Summit temperatures can be as low as minus 29C.
Mr Foster has been training for the event by playing squash, jogging and doing weekend hill walks. The expedition will last from October 18-27.
He said: “I have no doubt this will be an enormous physical and mental challenge, but it is one I am looking forward to.”
Pictured above – SUMMIT MEETING: Graham Foster gears up for an ascent of Africa’s highest mountain. To support his quest, click here.