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2nd Aug, 2021

Epic mountains challenge awaits father and son after cancer fight

Rob George 20th Jun, 2021

A WHITTINGTON father and son are taking on an epic mountain challenge to raise vital money for charity after a cancer journey like no other.

Deane and Fionn Baker will climb 39 mountains in Scotland in just five weeks to raise money one year on from 14-year-old Fionn being diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.

In the Autumn of 2019, Fionn, who was 12-years-old at the time, began complaining of a swelling in the inside corner of his left eye.

“His eye was a bit weepy and the logical assumption was this might be a blocked tear duct. He was a fit, happy, 12-year old boy and there were no reason to be anxious,” dad Deane said.

As time went on, however, the family became more and more concerned as a lump grew larger on Fionn’s face. They first visited a doctor in October, but it wasn’t until March 2020 that Fionn and his parents would be told the devastating news it was cancer.

Fionn was given an MRI scan and a biopsy of the mass on his face was taken during an emergency operation. Five rounds of chemotherapy followed the diagnosis and a life-threatening case of sepsis shock.

“It was a horrible, indescribable, experience to watch your child to go through cancer. It leaves a scar there is no doubt about that,” Deane said.

“In the darkest of these days he did not want to carry on and that’s probably the hardest thing any parent can hear from their child. Hours and hours of incessant crying and a constant need to have his aching body massaged and comforted just to remind him that he was still alive and he would be OK.”

A year on and Fionn has bounced back from his treatment but must have an MRI scan every three months for the next five years.

“His resilience continues to amaze me, hence our desire to draw a line under 2020 and try to do something in 2021 that will make a difference to others,” his proud dad added.

Deane and Fionn will be climbing 39 munros in Scotland to raise money for Young Lives vs Cancer, Teenage Cancer Trust, Birmingham Hospital and Cancer Research.

The family wanted to give back to Young Lives vs Cancer after they were supported throughout Fionn’s cancer treatment by a social worker.

The father and son team will be climbing more than 25,480m during the course of the five weeks – over 83,100 feet. That’s the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest 2.9 times or Ben Nevis more than 19 times.

“Fionn and I are incredibly close, and even closer with what we went through together.

“We share very similar hobbies and interests and both love the outdoors together,” Deane said.

“The thing I am most looking forward to about the challenge isn’t the mountains we are going to climb but the time we will be spending together.”

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