Cancer survivor takes on mountain


A breast cancer survivor from Cuckfield is preparing to climb one of Europe’s highest mountains for charity despite never having climbed more than a few hundred feet.

Mother of two Sharon Botting is hoping to raise £3,203 for Macmillan Cancer Support, a pound for every metre of Kitzsteinhorn in Austria, more than twice as high as Ben Nevis.

Sharon said: “I am doing this because I want to inspire people and show that people recover from cancer and go on to lead full and active lives.”

The former community police officer is undertaking the gruelling challenge in August during a brief two-month period when the Kitzsteinhorn near Salzburg is open to climbers as the rest of the year conditions are too dangerous.

Even at the height of summer the glacial mountain is challenging for climbers and the last 200 metres have to be ascended using ropes in sub-zero temperatures surrounded by snow and ice which cover the mountain top.

Sharon was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer in July 2012.

She had gone to her GP after experiencing pins and needles in her chest and when her doctor examined her they discovered a lump.

She was referred to specialists at the Princess Royal in Haywards Heath and the Royal Sussex County in Brighton where she was diagnosed with grade three breast cancer; a fast growing, aggressive form of breast cancer which had already developed quite significantly.

Sharon began her treatment with surgery, which revealed the cancer had not spread to the lymph nodes.

However because it was so aggressive, Sharon decided, with support and guidance from her consultant and Macmillan nurse to undergo further treatment, as it was likely the cancer could come back, even though the lump had been removed.

Sharon underwent six gruelling cycles of chemotherapy followed by four weeks of radiotherapy.

She now attends annual check-ups and takes oestrogen-inhibiting drugs.

Sharon said: “Since recovering from grade three breast cancer last year I have wanted to do as much as I can for Macmillan Cancer Support.

“They are a fantastic organisation and really helped me through my chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

“I’ve always loved the Austrian Alps since we used to have winter holidays there, but I never climbed a mountain, I always used the ski lift or cable car.

“Kitzsteinhorn is a breathtaking mountain and I decided to do something spectacular for Macmillan Cancer Support by climbing it, raising a £1 for every metre of its height. That comes to a total of £3,203 and I am already well on the way having raised £1,800 in sponsorship.”

Sharon has set up a Cancerhugs Facebook site where people can post messages to help people through treatment and recovery.

Sponsor Sharon at