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Moorlands vet to tackle 268-mile Pennine Way trek in just eight days

A Staffordshire Moorlands vet is set to hike the 268-mile length of the Pennines to thank the NHS staff who provided care for her mother.

Tracy Latham will set off from Edale in Derbyshire on 4 September hoping to arrive in Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish borders eight days later.

The 40-year-old from Leek is raising funds for the spinal team at University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM) who are treating her mum Helena who suffers from major back issues.

Tracy said: “For as long as I can remember mum has suffered with debilitating back pain but she has never given up. She’s had numerous surgeries along the length of her spine since 2006. We were all hoping that an operation in September 2020 with alternative implant stabilisation would be her final surgery to finally improve her quality of life long term.”

“She was making great progress with daily physiotherapy but on Christmas Eve one of the rods in her spine snapped and once more mum was in agony. She’s prioritised for correction surgery.

A keen long-distance walker and member of Congleton Running Club, Tracy decided to do something to thank the UHNM staff for providing care for Helena over the years.

She said: “Everyone at UHNM has been absolutely amazing and I am doing this challenge to raise funds as our way of saying thank you to our amazing NHS and giving back something for all that they have done for Mum.”

Tracy plans to walk more than 30 miles per day carrying all her own kit along the way.

“This challenge has really helped with my fitness having trekked sections of the route in preparation. It’s incredibly weather dependent and there are parts of the route with no phone signal so I needed to be aware of any pitfalls along the way.”

Helena plans to visit daughter Tracy throughout her challenge for encouragement.

Tracy added: “It’s a real driver to have her involved in some way- mum’s so willing in mind. She’s extremely brave, an inspiration, and I am so proud of her. It’s for this reason I’ll never give up on her and why I’ll do all 268 miles of the route within my timescale for our great and most worthy cause."

Donate to Tracy's fundraising here.

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