Nine officers from the Forth Valley Police Division have raised more than £6,000 for Maggie’s, a charity dedicated to providing free support for those diagnosed with cancer, as they climbed three of Great Britain’s highest peaks in 24 hours on August 17.
Officers within the division were moved to raise money for the charity after their colleague, Cameron Shanks, was diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer with a life-expectancy of just 6-10 months.
Cammy, as he is known, had served within the Police for more than 40 years before his diagnosis. For many of those years, he was primarily a renowned dog handler, and continued to work in training new recruits long after his retirement from police service himself.
Admirably, Cammy has remained positive in the face of his diagnosis, for the sake of his wife, Claire, and his four children, but has admitted that things can be difficult when alone. Thankfully, Maggie’s have been there to provide support during what is an incredibly difficult time:
He said: “I have turned to Maggie’s for the help and support that I need, and I have to say, words do not describe how much their support helps to both me and my family.”
Maggie’s, founded in 1996, is named after the late Maggie Keswick Jencks, who lived with an advanced form of cancer for two years and created the blueprint for the charity’s unique approach to support based on Jencks’ belief that no one should “lose the joy of living in the fear of dying”.
Since then, Maggie’s has continued to grow, with 20 centres located at hospitals throughout the UK, as well as an online centre accessible to those who may not be able to visit physically.
According to the charity’s website, they have received more than 200,000 visits last year and have provided support to more than 45,000 people who have been recently diagnosed, like Cammy.
Maggie’s Centres provide free practical, emotional and social support to individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer and their families, and as an organisation close to Cammy’s heart, the nine officers devoted themselves to raising awareness for the charity and money for the Maggie’s Centre at the Forth Valley Royal Hospital.
The officers decided to take on the national ‘Three Peaks Challenge’ as they looked for people to sponsor their efforts and raise as much as possible.
The Three Peaks Challenge involves climbing the highest peaks in Great Britain’s constituent countries in just 24 hours: Scotland’s Ben Nevis, England’s Scaffell Pike, and Wales’ Snowdon.
The gruelling task meant climbing a total ascent of over 10,000 feet, 23 miles of walking and a minimum of 462 miles of driving.
The police made an appeal on the Forth Valley Police Division’s Facebook page for donations, with a target of £2,500, before they faced the challenge in a post that stated:
“Although this will be a tough challenge physically and mentally for our officers, it is nothing compared to the challenge that Cammy and his family, and others with cancer diagnosis, face.”
As tough as the challenge was, the officers managed to smash their initial target through their incredible effort and handed a cheque for a grand total of £6079.40 to Maggie’s Forth Valley on September 12, a sum Cammy described as “humbling”.