A KINTORE dad who has dedicated the last three years to raising money for the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) received a hero’s welcome as he arrived home last weekend.
Family, friends and supporters all came out to greet the man who, against all the odds, had mastered the wilderness that is the world’s tallest mountain.
On a mission to raise money for the charity, Neil McDonald from Kintore, has tackled the tallest mountains in Europe, South America and Asia, but now, having raised in excess of £111,000 for JDRF, he is ready to hang up his hat.
Upon his arrival in Aberdeen Neil said: “I’m just relieved to be home.”
Speaking about his ultimate Everest challenge he said: “I’m very lucky, I only had about four off days throughout the climb. Your immune system accelerates so you get better very much quicker. The mountain food is prepared by local cooks, but the kitchen boys are all local and there is a lack of hygeine. That makes it one of the biggest battles.”
During his time on Everest, Neil rescued a man who was suffering snow blindness and was tangled in his ropes. He said: “He was a client of the Russians. I took him down from 7,800m to 7,000m.”
But for Neil there will be no more climbing: “I’m not going again, it’s time for us to do other things with our lives. We are £11,000 over target so we’re allowed to take some family time.”
Expressing joy at his homecoming, wife Linzie said: “I’m delighted to have him home. For me it wouldn’t have mattered if ge got to the top or not, but he has made history for our family.”
Scotland fundraiser for JDRF, Lauren Hart said she felt “overwhelmed” at Neil’s achievement and added: “It’s been amazing for Neil and for us. The £111,000 he has raised will be life-changing.”
Continued on page 3
As the world’s number one charity for funding research into this type of diabetes which affects Neil’s daughter Darcey, there is hope that one day there will be a cure. Continuing, Lauren said: “Our aim is a world without Type 1 diabetes.”
The disease which mostly affects young children and people up to 40 is a life-threatening condition and those that have it are dependent on insulin for lfe.
Concluding, Lauren said: “There is no rhyme or reason as to why it affects people. I think Neil deserves a medal.”
An emotional Neil thanked everyone who supported him in achieving his goal. He said: “It has been a fantastic homecoming with members of the family and our friends.”
There is still time to donate to Neil’s cause by visiting www.climbingforacure.co.uk. Just click on the ‘donate’ button to add to his research fund.