Emma Jenkins had set herself the challenge of climbing Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, for the M.E Association. A challenge that she completed on the 30th May 2018 with the help of her husband Peter. Emma, from Redbourn, has had Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.) for around 20 years. This is what makes this achievement so more incredible with the odds stacked against them.
Her health is much better than it was, but her journey of recovery is far from over. When her M.E was at its worst, Emma was trapped in bed, in pain and lonely. She says that she felt imprisoned, unable to sleep for weeks and too weak even to feed herself. She struggled to find foods that she didn’t react to. These were dark years of mental and physical agony made worse by the judgement from others who could not understand the illness.
So over many years, Emma has been determined to improve her quality of life and try in her own way to live life in the best way she can. So to go from where she was in her dark days of this debilitating illness to being able to climb Ben Nevis is nothing short of a miracle.
Emma says, “I wouldn’t have been able to complete this climb without my supportive husband.” Emma and her husband, Peter, almost gave up about three-quarters of the way up because of the steepness of the climb and the relentless heat of the sun bouncing off the rocks. The only thing keeping them going was their determination and the disappointment in themselves if they didn’t make it to the summit.
It was the hottest day of the year, so far, in Fort William. It took the pair around 15 hours to complete the ascent and descent of this 1,345 metre mountain. Emma said, “The climb itself was both the toughest challenge we had ever done together, but also the most amazing challenge with the most spectacular views. We met some inspiring and selfless people too. It is something that I will remember, with pride, for the rest of my life.”
Emma did this epic challenge, not for herself, but to raise awareness of M.E and for all M.E sufferers in Britain. ME Association’s Fundraising Manager, Helen Hyland says “I was thrilled to meet Emma and Peter shortly after their descent. They were tired, but clearly delighted to have reached the top despite (and for) M.E. This isn’t an illness to be taken lightly – they trained and prepared hard, and took as many precautions as they could to accommodate Emma’s illness. I am pleased that Emma is now sensibly resting. She recognises that, because of her illness, her recovery will take quite some time and has factored this into her plans for the next few weeks.”
Emma and Peter would finally like to thank the kindness and generosity of all those who supported their challenge – whether by donation, practical support, or in the case of Peter’s employers – South Mimms Travel – for their sponsorship of their flights to and from Scotland. Without which all of this would not have been possible.
You can support Emma’s fundraising and read more of her story here –