11:45 a.m. 23 January 2022
After feeling ‘lost’ following the death of her mother, a Colchester woman has been galvanized to take on the ‘enormous’ challenge of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
Sue Hughes, 64, struggled to adjust to her mother Doreen McHenry, from Maldon, not being there after she died of dementia in her care home on January 19, 2021, aged 88 .
Restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic meant Sue couldn’t be with her mother when she died – something she said was a “real struggle” to deal with.
She said: “After mum died I was so angry at how it happened that I spent the first two months screaming and screaming in front of the TV.
“My eldest daughter said ‘Mom, you have to stop, you can’t go on like this’. And that’s when I thought ‘I’m going to do something positive’. road. point.”
The mother-of-two, a former social worker who went into college research, used money left over from her mum to find a personal trainer to get fit and lose weight and decided to take on a challenge to help fight dementia.
Sue said her mother had always been “a fiercely independent woman”, raising four children as a single parent.
“She had such a sharp mind and spirit, but when the dementia hit she found it difficult to live independently,” she said.
“If she hadn’t had Alzheimer’s, she wouldn’t have been in that nursing home and in that room for 11 months and died on her own.”
Sue will travel alone to Tanzania and hike Kilimanjaro – Africa’s highest mountain – from June 22 this year.
She said she had never done anything like this before and had been unfit most of her life.
She got a personal trainer in April last year, started running twice a week and lost three stone.
“I went from zero to 100,” she said. “All I knew was that by getting fitter, I wanted to do something big.”
She said after her mother’s death she was “lost for a while” as she tried to find her place in the world, but the fitness and challenge helped her “massively”.
“It helped me to walk away from that anger and deep, deep sadness and grief and pull myself together to take on this huge challenge.”
Sue has already raised over £500 for the Alzheimer’s Society since launching her fundraising page this week. To make a donation, go to the page.