16 September 2014
Jim Robertson, 79, climbing the 3553ft tall Schiehallion.
A Perthshire pensioner who had part of his lung removed after being diagnosed with cancer conquered a 3500ft mountain in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.
Jim Robertson, 79, spent more than eight hours climbing the 3553ft tall Schiehallion - just weeks after being struck down with pneumonia.
Former singing teacher Jim, who also has emphysema, was originally due to take on the climb in June, the day after he carried the Queen’s Baton for Scotland's Commonwealth Games.
Unfortunately illness meant he had to postpone the challenge, but the Perthshire man was determined not to give up.
Jim, from Alyth, wanted to complete the climb to raise money for Macmillan after getting involved in their pioneering new physical activity programme, Move More, that aims to get cancer patients fitter by doing some gentle exercise.
Diagnosed with lung cancer in January 2012, Jim said: "I wanted to climb Schiehallion in my 80th year of life. Other than my breathing problems, I'm fitter than I was 20-years ago thanks to getting involved in the Macmillan Move More programme, which gets people who’ve had cancer doing some exercise.
"I'll never forget that in the few months after my surgery I couldn’t walk to the end of the road. Now I could walk 10-miles and I’ve climbed a mountain. I don’t know what would have become of me if I hadn’t heard about Move More.
"I wanted to climb Schiehallion to show people that being diagnosed with cancer - even when you are older - doesn't mean you can't go on to live a good life. And I wanted to raise some money for Macmillan as well.
"Having to postpone the climb was a great shame but I’m delighted to have finally completed it. It was a very long climb in poor weather with torrential rain, but I stayed upright and made it to the end. The return was in sunshine and glorious views, so that was a great compensation."
Jim was accompanied on his challenge with step-daughter Rhona, a doctor who was also an Olympic torch bearer, and Jim’s friend and Alyth Minister, Mike Erskine.
The Move More Dundee programme Jim took part in was sparked by research carried out on behalf of Macmillan that found being active can make cancer patients feel better physically and mentally. Developed by the charity, in partnership with the University of Dundee and Paths for All, there's also some evidence this could prevent some cancers returning.
Hazel Ednie, the Macmillan programme co-ordinator for Move More Dundee, said: "Jim is truly amazing. Climbing a Munro would be a real challenge for most people, even those 50-years younger who haven’t been through the surgery and side effects he has had to cope with.
"He’s a fantastic example of how having cancer doesn’t need to mean the end of being active – in fact for Jim it was what inspired him to get fitter, and I hope he inspires other people who've had cancer to find out more about our Move More programme.
"Just doing a little bit of gentle walking can really help people feel better, especially doing it surrounded by people who’ve also had cancer."
You can find out more about MoveMore Dundee by calling 01382 385177, texting ‘WalkMORE’ and your name to 88802, or visiting the programme's webpage.