Young woman died of cancer just one week before her 20th birthday

An 80-year-old man will tackle the colossal Mount Everest to fundraise in memory of his great-niece who died just one week before her 20th birthday.

Alan Mckie is to climb the biggest peak in the world in memory of his niece Isabel who grabbed every opportunity she could during her short time on earth.

Alan reminded people this week “you never know what’s around the corner” as he revealed he used Isabel’s lust for life as the inspiration for the expedition.

He will be joined on the 18,000 ft climb to Everest’s base camp with his grandson Matt Galley, in memory of Isabel who died from cancer in 2020.

Alan Mckie, 80, will be climbing to Everest base camp in memory of his great-niece Isabel

The University of Liverpool philosophy student was working at Camp America when she was diagnosed with stage 4 renal cell carcinoma.

Upon returning home stage four, secondary tumors were found in Isabel’s liver, adrenal glands, jaw, spine and pelvis, according to Liverpool Echo.

Previously Isabel’s mum Amanda McEgan revealed that her daughter loved the outdoors and helping people, saying she “really did touch people’s lives”.

Amanda, from Prescott, added: “She really made the most of every opportunity she was offered and made such a positive impact on people’s lives.”

Alan is looking to ascend to the base camp of the world’s tallest mountain to raise money for Claire House Children’s Hospice, which cared for Isabel in her final months, and a scholarship fund at Camp America to help those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

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The 80-year-old, who already climbed Kilimanjaro ten years before, said the key to his training is “consistency and routine” – with him walking up Helsby Hill every morning with a 10kg weight on his bag.

Alan and personal trainer grandson Matt first planned to make the climb 18 months ago but have been delayed twice because of the pandemic.

But Alan said this actually helped him in a strange way as it has given him longer to train and the chance to raise more money.

Alan said: “Climbing mountains isn’t just about getting to the top.

“It’s about having a reason to climb the mountain – there’s got to be an end reason for doing these things.

“Izzy would have done this if she was still here – we’re doing it for her, we promised to do it.

“We’re not conquering the mountain, we’re conquering ourselves, as that is the most important thing to beat.”

Alan said the most important hurdle to overcome that every mountaineer will face is the altitude sickness.

But he added the people you meet when climbing are incredible and the support everyone gives to each other will help push him and Matt on.

Isabel was a Girl Guider and went to Buckingham Palace to receive her Gold Duke of Edinburgh award.

Alan said the Girl Scouts’ motto of “building girls of courage, confidence and character” perfectly represented Isabel.

He added: “She did a lot and would have done a lot more if she lived longer.

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“She always did more than she needed to do for other people.

“She’d always put her arm around you and give you a hug.

“She was great – she was good, modest and always fun to be around.”

Guides and Scouts have decorated pebbles in Isabel’s memory and they’ve been taken across the world to continue her spirit and love of travel.

Alan and Matt will be taking one with them when they set off for Everest on March 12.

Alan said: “This climb isn’t about me or Matt – it’s about Claire House, Camp America, and Izzy.”

You can donate to Alan and Matt’s fundraiser here.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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