Memories of her grandma’s cooking will be spurring Leicester-based Alisha Crighton on when she climbs the three highest mountains in the country to raise money for the British Heart Foundation (BHF).
Alisha, who has just left Manchester University where she was studying maths, is aiming to hit the three peaks on the day she turns 23 in October – climbing all three within an exhausting 24-hour period.
She will be fundraising for BHF in memory of her grandmother Kantaben, who died in November last year with a heart-related condition a month before she turned 80, and her grandfather Chhaganbhai who she lost more than 20 years ago when he was 59.
Alisha is hoping to raise at least £2,000 for the heart charity, with the money helping to fund life-saving research into heart and circulatory diseases.
“After graduating I was keen to take on a charity project and when my grandma passed away late last year with a heart related condition, it felt right that it should be for British Heart Foundation,” she said.
“My grandad also passed away when I was a baby – I never really knew him as I was born in October and he died the following February.
“But I really loved my grandma and she just really loved me.
“Me and my sister were her only grandchildren and because we lived really close we would go and visit her and go “ma, what can we eat?” and she would always tell us there were leftovers in the oven – she really loved us and spoiled us and she made the best food”.
Alisha said she had chosen the Three Peaks Challenge – which takes in Ben Nevis in Scotland, Snowdon in Wales, and Scafell Pike in England – because she wanted “one big fundraiser” rather than several smaller ones. She will be going alone but joining a group who will climb together – giving her some new friends to celebrate with on her birthday.
“My birthday on 7 October is the very start of it,” said Alisha.
“We wake up something ridiculous like 5am – I think we start on Ben Nevis and then probably we will climb Scafell Pike before we travel on to Snowdon, when it will probably tick over on to the 8th.
“The only sleep we will get over that time is on the coach – there’s no going to bed at all for the whole period.
“It’s going to be pretty full on and definitely not a walk in the park – in fact, as the weeks go on and I step up my training I am starting to realise how intense this challenge is – but I also think it’s going to be really good”.
BHF Fundraising Manager for Leicester, Jon Frost, said: “I’m sure Alisha’s grandparents would have been really proud of her efforts and honoured that she is raising money for such an important cause in their memory.
“Their story is a powerful reminder of the hidden cost of heart disease. That’s why this September, we are shining a spotlight on hidden heart conditions.
“Hidden heart conditions often go undiagnosed for too long, until something goes wrong or it’s too late. By funding groundbreaking research, we can get a step closer to breakthroughs that could help save and improve millions of lives and outsmart heart disease for good.”