Stepdad climbs to the top of the world for sick stepdaughter

Rhiannon Deamer, 14, and stepdad Stuart Powell.

Rhiannon Deamer, 14, and stepdad Stuart Powell. - Credit: Archant

Teenager’s life turned upside down with shock leukaemia diagnosis – now her stepdad is out to raise £500,000 for the charity which has supported her.

Rhiannon Deamer will have to spend five months in Bristol Children's Hospital while she undergoes tr

Rhiannon Deamer will have to spend five months in Bristol Children's Hospital while she undergoes treatment for leukemia. - Credit: Archant

A DEVOTED stepdad has set himself a double challenge of climbing Everest and raising half-a-million pounds for charity after his stepdaughter was diagnosed with leukaemia.

Novice climber Stuart Powell, 46, from Bideford, hopes to scale the world’s highest peak in 2015 after first mounting a mammoth fund-raising campaign for CLIC Sargent.

He wants to say thank you to the charity that is currently supporting his 14-year-old step-daughter Rhiannon Deamer by joining an elite group to have scaled the Himalayan summit.

The popular Bideford College student is being cared for at Bristol Children’s Hospital, where she is undergoing five months of chemotherapy on Ward 35, which is run by CLIC and Macmillan Teenage Cancer Trust.

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Rhiannon’s mum Rachel Powell said her daughter’s world had been ‘turned upside down’ after being diagnosed at the end of August.

“I think, for her, the hardest thing has been losing her beautiful long, strawberry blonde hair; it’s been almost worse than the sickness from the chemo.

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“But she has been so strong and upbeat, and we’ve now learnt she should have an 80 per cent chance of a full recovery which is brilliant.”

Rachael and Stuart have moved up to Bristol to live in Sam’s House, a free home for families at the hospital provided by CLIC Sargent.

Stuart said: “CLIC has just been so amazing to us – I really don’t know what we would do without them.

“I wanted to do something to pay them back for what they have done for us and for Rhiannon.

“I have never done anything like this before, but I am absolutely determined to raise this much money.”

Stuart has already been accepted to take part in the expedition with famous mountaineer Tim Mosedale, who has reached the summit four times.

He said he would be undertaking six months of training prior to the climb and that failing to achieve his £500,000 for CLIC was ‘not an option’.

“I am extremely serious about this opportunity,” he said.

“I am not a wealthy man and this trip will be charity funded. I will need to cover the cost of the equipment which could add up to £15,000, plus the cost of the eight-week trip which is nearly £30,000.

“CLIC has amazing fundraisers who have said they will help me raise awareness through a campaign we’ll be launching this week.

“I am not working at the moment, which has almost turned out to be a blessing now I can throw all my energy into my fundraising.”

Of the total, 80 per cent will go to CLIC and 20 per cent towards Mountain Rescue, but Stuart now needs sponsorship to help fund the trip and reach his total.

In the meantime, the couple are urgently looking for a temporary foster home for their Siberian husky dog while they stay with Rhiannon in Bristol.

“Moley, our husky, needs someone who is experienced with this breed,” said Rachael.

“We’re desperately trying to find a temporary home so Rhiannon’s brother Alex can be closer to his sister.”

Anyone who thinks they can help with the care of Moley is asked to email Rachael at Readers can also follow the campaign on Twitter by following @rhiannonsevere7.

Anyone interested in donating towards Stuart’s climb, can do so securely on his Just Giving page

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