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Claire reaches new heights in epic mountain challenge for Diabetes UK

October 12, 2015

A determined young Camlough woman who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes just days after she turned 18 has been reaching new heights this year since setting herself the challenge of scaling 15 mountains throughout Ireland, all in aid of Diabetes UK.

Twenty one year old Claire Garvey was diagnosed as a Type 1 insulin dependent Diabetic two days before embarking on her Nursing degree in September 2012.  Describing the news as the toughest thing she has ever faced, Claire was adamant she would stay positive and take control of her condition.  Three years later, in the same year she qualified as a Nurse, she has taken on the mammoth task of conquering 15 of Ireland’s mountains, climbing a total height of 8,848 metres – the equivalent of reaching the peak of Mount Everest.

Claire began her mountainous challenge in April this year and since then, has tackled some of Ireland’s highest climbs, including Carrauntoohil in County Kerry which, standing at 1038 metres, is Ireland’s tallest peak.  She has also conquered Croagh Patrick in Mayo, the Devil’s Bit in Tipperary as well as several of the Mourne mountains on her ambitious journey.

Spurred on by the company of good friends and supporters on many of her climbs, Claire, who is a senior footballer with Shane O’Neill’s in Camlough, will reach her final summit on Camlough Mountain next Sunday 18th October accompanied by her Shane O’Neill team mates and club members.  The club has made a rallying call for  as many team mates, players and supporters to join Claire as she scales her final mountain in what promises to be an emotional end to an amazing feat by the young Camlough woman.

Speaking to The Examiner about the heights she has reached during the challenge, Claire said she initially undertook the task to prove to herself that she would not be defeated or defined by her Diabetes, but she soon decided that it was a perfect opportunity to raise awareness of the illness and encourage other sufferers to take control.

“I love sports and I wanted to encourage other Diabetes sufferers that they can  accomplish whatever they want in life,” says Claire.

“It was a huge shock when I received my diagnosis, especially as I was just about to start my Nursing degree but I’ve learned to take control back.  We must  all take control of our diabetes, we only have one life and we should concentrate. Staying positive is key.

“I knew climbing Mount Everest would probably never happen so I thought climbing the equivalent height on Ireland’s mountains was the next best thing! It’s been fantastic and I’ve had such amazing experiences climbing with great friends along the way. Carrountoohil was the biggest challenge and it was such an achievement.  The view heading up there was just breathtaking and something I’ll always remember.

“I’m delighted to share my final climb with the Shane O’Neill’s and hope as many as possible turn out on the day.”

Climbers will assemble at Shane O’Neill’s football club in Camlough at 9am on Sunday 18th October and will return to the club for tea and refreshments afterwards.

If you would like to donate to Claire’s Reaching new Heights challege visit /www.justgiving.com/Claire-Garvey/

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