In 2012, Debra’s dad Bill Leslie was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer. Debra said that it felt like their family’s world had been smashed apart. 

Bill was referred to The Christie for treatment for the cancer. According to Debra, her dad dealt very well with cancer for 4 years. In late 2017, the cancer unfortunately spread to Bill’s femur. This caused him incredible pain and he needed hip replacement surgery.

In 2018, Bill spent most of his time in and out of hospital. Debra said that some of the times he was admitted, she would think he was going to die – only for him to be sitting in bed and joking with the nurses and doctors the next day.

Sadly, in January 2019, Bill died. Debra said the grief was unbearable. The one thing that got her through the difficult times of Bill’s treatment was the quality of care that he received at The Christie. Debra said that every person they met from the X-ray department team to the café staff helped them feel like they weren’t alone.

Debra said that after her dad died, she needed something to channel her grief into. She started running, which she had never done before. After training, Debra took on the Wilmslow and Manchester 10K runs for The Christie charity – something that Debra said helped turn her grief into gratitude. 

A few months after Bill died, Debra spotted The Christie’s Trek the Alps challenge on Facebook – a trek through 3 countries in 3 days. She immediately knew she needed to take part, with thoughts of all the families going through difficult times and focusing on raising money for much needed equipment.

Debra said she was nervous at first – she didn’t know if she was fit enough to complete the Trek the Alps challenge. But every time she had a doubt, she thought about the determination her dad had showed during his treatment, and that got her through.

Before the trek, Debra connected with a few other people on the challenge to get some training in. She said she would recommend doing a few training treks for anyone taking on a similar challenge. This would help work out what to wear and what equipment is needed.

Finally, the day of The Christie’s Trek the Alps challenge came around. Debra said there was a real range of ability in the group. One woman was recovering from cancer treatment, while another person had a prosthetic leg. There were also a few guides walking with the group, so nobody was left behind.

Debra said the whole group had one thing in common – to complete the challenge to raise much needed money. She also said that meeting the different people and the experience of the trek is something that will stay with her for the rest of her life.

As soon as Debra saw that The Christie charity had set a new challenge – the Spanish 3 Peaks Trek – she jumped at the chance to take part. The Spanish 3 Peaks Trek covers 48km through the Sierra Nevada National Park and conquers Spain’s 3 highest peaks, taking place from 13 September 2023 to 17 September 2023.

“I feel there are things that I have learnt from the last Trek the Alps and will certainly be more prepared mentally for this challenge. It is tough but rewarding, you may be out of your comfort zone, but you will be with a team of people that support you and become good friends and above all you will raise lots of money for this much needed charity.
“The Christie is an incredible place that I will be forever grateful for the love, care and dignity they gave to my dad, Bill Leslie.
“I’m looking forward to meeting up with the Spanish Three Peak Trekkers very soon and I hope my story has helped you to decide this is the right thing to do.”

  - Debra, Christie fundraiser

Do you fancy joining Debra in Team Christie in September 2023 to tackle a 3-day trek through Spain? If you love a challenge, are thirsty for adventure and want to support the fight against cancer, sign up for The Christie charity’s Spanish 3 Peaks Trek now.