Cancer patients will descend 160 feet to London hospital to ‘pay’ NHS staff

A cancer patient has to overcome his fear of heights and climb 160 feet to St. Thomas Hospital below, dressed as Where Wally, to “pay off” the hospital that cares for him.

Claire Stork, a prison administrator from Woolwich, south-east London, is to undertake the annual St Thomas’ Hospital abseil with two of her friends – Della Pearson and Levi Bowditch – to raise money for Guy’s Cancer Charity, it The charity supports the hospital where she is currently receiving treatment for her cancer.

Ms Stork and her two friends, dubbed “party animals”, will join other thrill-seekers at St Thomas’ Hospital on Friday at 5pm.

Claire Stork at Guy's Hospital

In January 2023, he was diagnosed with a rare and highly aggressive form of thyroid gland cancer called anaplastic thyroid carcinoma, and is currently undergoing treatment.

In December 2022, she underwent a six-hour operation at Guy’s Hospital after a lump was discovered in her neck, where a 12 cm tumor was removed.

The 42-year-old was inspired to achieve the feat after seeing an abseil poster at Guy’s Hospital.

She told the PA news agency: “I saw the poster with abseiling, and throughout my cancer journey everyone kept saying ‘you’re so brave to do this’.

Claire Stork and friend Levi Bowditch preparing to practice on the high ropes

“I’m not brave, I have no choice but to live with it (cancer) and I can’t change it – so why should I be stressed?

“I’m afraid of heights and I thought, I want to do something that makes people say you’re brave and mean it.

“Also, Guy’s Hospital has really helped me through my cancer recovery, having someone I can always talk to, getting a wig for my head and everyone being so kind.

“I want to pay them back for everything they did.”

Ms. Stork and her friends refer to themselves as Party Animals due to their love of “partying and dancing”, and will dress up as Where’s Wally for the challenge because they wanted to do something “unique”.

“We all stick up for each other and they have really supported me, everyone gets on very well,” Ms Stork said.

“We’re going to be Where Wally and hopefully have a cape with our name on the back, which will also show that not every hero wears a cape.”

Her friend, Della Pearson, said: “There is nothing too big or small for Claire to overcome.”

Claire Stork and friend Della Pearson

To overcome her fear of heights, Ms Stork has been practicing on a high ropes course at Allhallows Haven holiday park in Kent with her nephew John, 12, and niece Ruby, 10.

“It’s about two stories high, not that high, but I’m trying to get the confidence and feeling of looking down and walking along the ropes,” she explained.

Ms Stork described the doctors and nurses at Guy’s Hospital as “amazing”.

She said: “They are always there for me, all the doctors and nurses are amazing, you really can’t ask for more.

“They are always on the go and never rest, but no matter how busy they are, they are always available to talk to you and help you.

“I want to say a big thank you to Guys Cancer, I got all the support I needed.”

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Ms Stork’s surgeon, Mr Ricard Simo, said: “Since Claire’s diagnosis, she has had major surgery and very intensive treatment. Despite this, she perseveres and faces new challenges like abseil.

“The entire team treating Claire is delighted by her courage, willpower and determination to beat this disease.”

Ms Stork has received immense support from family, friends and her workplace, maintaining a “positive mindset” while battling cancer.

“I will live through cancer and cancer will not live through me,” she said.

“I’m taking each day, each hospital appointment as it comes; It has been a difficult journey and I have faced many difficulties but I remain positive.”

Claire Stork wearing her football teams shirt

Alison Rulton-Reid, head of community and events at Guy’s Cancer Charity, said: “We’re delighted to have Claire and her team of ‘Party Animals’ join us at this year’s exciting event.

“Our work is supported by generous fundraisers who want to help us foster innovation and support advances in cancer care.”

To view Ms Stork’s fundraising page, visit:

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