A MAN battled the elements when he took on a mountain to fundraise for a worthy cause.

Glen Neilson, from Bishop Auckland, headed to Tanzania in Africa and endured extreme weather conditions when he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, raising money for Crohn’s and Colitis UK in the process.

Mr Neilson has Inflammatory Bowel Disease which he was diagnosed with in 2001, and during a colostomy he was fitted with a stoma – a portable bag which collects waste from the body.

Nearly 19 years later, Mr Neilson continues to raise awareness of the condition, showing people that having a stoma does not cause limitations in his life.

Last month, after arriving in Tanzania, Mr Neilson set off from the base camp to begin a 15-hour journey to the summit, making friends along the way.

He said of the moment: “The volcanoes on top were stunning, as were the glaciers, but none of our group of nine really felt like celebrating as the summit was only halfway through the hike.”

The team were advised to wear a minimum of six layers of clothing and to wear ice spikes due to a summit weather report.

Mr Neilson had three base layers, one fleece and one waterproof duck down jacket for the ascent to the summit.

He said: “We put on the ice spikes and I even fell asleep standing up for a few seconds when our team stopped to cross some deep snow.”

He made it through bitterly cold conditions, with temperatures dropping to -25 at 5895m high.

Mr Neilson said: “I was so cold I couldn’t open the zip for my ice spikes case and a guide had to help me.

“I really struggled due to no sleep through the cold and I started hallucinating, at one point I even thought there was an earthquake as I thought the floor kept moving which obviously it wasn’t.

“Coming down from such extreme heights is always the worst part, then making our way down to Mweka camp below base camp was absolutely horrendous in the heat.

“It was very tough physically and mentally with lots of rain, sun, snow, altitude sickness and near frost bite, but my ostomy bag will never define me.”

On his JustGiving page Mr Neilson was the top one per cent of fundraisers last month out of 38,804 people.

Mr Neilson said: “I would like to thank everyone who has donated towards my charity cause Crohn’s & Colitis UK.

“So far nearly £3,000 has been raised for this fantastic charity to raise awareness of bowel disease and to show having a stoma does not necessarily mean you cannot live a full life.”

To support Mr Neilson and give to Crohn’s and Colitis UK, go to: www.justgiving.com/glenneilson