Steph Cade
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Paisley woman uniting with friends to conquer Devil’s Staircase in memory of friend

Steph Cade
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14 Apr 2016

Paisley resident Claire Harwood will be hoping the force is with her next month (Saturday 28 May) as she leads a team of 21 friends and colleagues all dressed as Star Wars characters, along the notorious Devil’s Staircase in Glencoe to raise funds for Bloodwise.

The 39-year-old has helped to organise the 8-mile “High Hopes Hike” in memory of her friend who died of leukaemia, and as part of the national fundraising campaign “My Peak Challenge”. The initiative – created by Scottish actor and star of hit TV series Outlander, Sam Heughan – encourages individuals to choose their own challenge to carry out during May whilst raising money for Bloodwise, the charity Sam has supported for a number of years.

Claire says: “My dear friend Nicky McArthur had leukaemia for several years and received a stem cell transplant, but he then unfortunately contracted pneumonia and passed away at the tender age of 29. The work and support that Bloodwise gives to patients and their families is immeasurable and if I can do anything to help them find better treatments for this disease then I will.”

This will be the second time Claire has taken part in My Peak Challenge, having climbed Ben Lomond in 2015 with 18 friends all dressed as Elvis. This year, Claire is hoping members of the public will sign up for free and join them on their trek, which will set off from Kings House, Glencoe and follow the Devils Staircase before descending down to Kinlochleven. The route is known as one of the most dramatic sections of the West Highland Way as it climbs to the highest peak on the route where there are breath-taking views of the Glencoe mountains.

“My Peak Challenge is a fantastic way to not only raise funds and awareness but also bring people together and just have a great day. During last year’s trek we met many great people along the way, one of whom reached into their pocket and donated £20 to the cause on the spot.

“We love adding a bit of extra fun to events and this challenge will have an optional Star Wars theme. Seeing a group of Stormtroopers out trekking in Scotland really will be quite a sight to see!” Claire adds.

Since its inception in 2015, My Peak Challenge has raised almost £200,000 for research into blood cancers, including leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

Keri Wyatt, Regional Manager for Scotland, says: “Claire has really embraced the concept of My Peak Challenge ever since it began last year, and her enthusiasm for bringing people together to fundraise for the charity is brilliant and what the campaign is all about. There’s still time to register and join us, it looks set to be a memorable experience!”

Registration for the High Hopes Hike is free, but participants are encouraged to set up a JustGiving page. For more information please visit the High Hopes Hike event page or contact Keri Wyatt on 0131 524 1325 or email kwyatt@bloodwise.org.uk.

To donate and support their challenge please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Claire-Harwood2

For more information on My Peak Challenge please visit www.mypeakchallenge.co.uk