A FATHER is taking on one of the highest mountains in the world this month to raise vital funds for children and young people with cancer, after being inspired by his own son’s cancer journey.

Andy Macnaughton-Jones, 49, from Neasham, Darlington, is training to climb Aconcagua in Argentina – the highest mountain outside the Himalayas. At a staggering 6,962 metres, 1,000 metres higher than Kilimanjaro, Mr Macnaughton-Jones decided to take on the challenge at the end of this month to raise money for CLIC Sargent, the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people, after his son James was diagnosed with cancer aged 10.

James was in his last year of junior school when he was diagnosed with lymphoma after collapsing on holiday in the summer of 2011.

Mr Macnaughton-Jones said: “James started to suffer from shortness of breath – something we put down to particularly bad asthma. But while on holiday he collapsed and was rushed into hospital with what eventually transpired was a collapsed lung. His lung had collapsed due to a tumour growing from his lymph node blocking his right lung.”

James then underwent a ‘risky’ operation to remove the tumour and his family had a painstaking week to wait to get the results. He was eventually diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma and he immediately began an intensive chemotherapy at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

“Throughout his treatment James was fantastic, keeping a slightly warped sense of humour that helped us all through the process. January 2012 gave us a scan showing that the tumour had pretty much disappeared and no further treatment was planned."

The family were supported by CLIC Sargent and a social worker from the charity who provides practical, emotional and financial support through things like financial grants.

“It was a horrible time for the whole family and the support of CLIC Sargent during his treatment and afterwards when he returned to school was immeasurable. The fact we had support from CLIC Sargent going forward was hugely beneficial.”

Mr Macnaughton-Jones decided to sign up to take on his epic three-week expedition after already taking on Kilimanjaro twice for CLIC Sargent to give back to the charity and to help support more families facing cancer.

“This is a big step up from the endurance and strength required for Kili. Most people think I am fairly mad doing this challenge, but everyone has been really supportive though and it’s about raising awareness.” To sponsor visit https://bit.ly/aco2019.