‘Wonder woman’ climbs Kilimanjaro to give back to West Norfolk Breast Care Unit
A woman from Lynn has scaled the tallest free-standing mountain in the world to give back to the hospital unit which supported her.
Katie Docherty, 35, raised almost £16,000 for the West Norfolk Breast Care Unit at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital after climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with her siblings in October last year.
Katie said: “I am really proud to have made it to the top. The last few days of the trek were really hard work so it gives me a huge sense of achievement.
“I am also pleased to have raised so much money for the Breast Unit and to give something back to the people who have helped me. The team do amazing work.”
Mother-of-three Katie was just 30-years-old when she discovered a ping-pong ball sized lump in her right breast, just over a year after giving birth to twins Miles and Delilah, now aged five.
Hospital officials gave Katie, who is married to Liam and who also has an older son Dylan, the nickname ‘wonder woman’ for her determination and the way in which she dealt with her diagnosis and operations.
During her cancer treatment, Katie underwent two mastectomy operations, chemotherapy and radiotherapy along with reconstructive surgery.
It was while she was waiting in the hospital for a reconstructive operation that the idea to climb Mount Kilimanjaro came up.
She said: “While we were waiting, my sister Christen and I began sharing our bucket lists and the only one we had in common was that we both wanted to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
“After I had got better, Christen said we should just do it so we went for the biggest item on the list – climbing the world’s tallest free-standing mountain.”
So on October 11 last year, Katie and her sister Christen and brother Matt flew out to Tanzania to join the group which was taking on the challenge of climbing the mountain.
To gradually get used to change in altitude, the group trekked for 11 days before reaching the summit.
But it was during this period that Katie’s determination and refusal to give up kicked in once more.
She said: “I did find it really difficult because of the altitude. In some parts we were walking with just 50 per cent oxygen.
“On Summit Night we had to leave at 11.30pm and walk until 7.30am. I would not have been able to do it without the people who were walking with me. They kept me going and cheered me on when I made it to the summit.”
Katie returned to the Breast Unit on January 23 to present a cheque of £15,897 to oncoplastic breast surgeon Amy Burger and senior breast care specialist nurse Angela Holford and Elaine Rudd.
Miss Burger helped to treat Katie and paid tribute to her determination.
She said: “Katie dealt with her diagnosis along with the several complex operations she went through brilliantly, always calm and quietly determined. She has been an amazing patient and we call her ‘wonder woman’.
“We cannot thank her enough for her amazing work in raising this money for the unit.
“We are incredibly grateful, we have a few projects which as a team we will assess for suitability for the funds which our patients have raised.
“All new techniques and equipment will be introduced with the aim of improving outcomes for patients in the future.”