A mum whose son has epilepsy has climbed the 15 highest Welsh peaks in 24 hours to raise awareness and funds for the charity which has supported them following his diagnosis.
Talya Richman, from North London, has just completed the Welsh 3000s challenge to raise nearly £2000 for charity Camp Simcha, which provides practical, therapeutic and emotional support to Jewish families with seriously ill children.
Talya’s son Levi, now nine, was diagnosed with epilepsy when he was five; Camp Simcha has supported Talya, her husband Dov, and Levi to try to help with some of the challenges his diagnosis has brought.
“One in 240 children in England is affected by epilepsy; when our son Levi was diagnosed aged five, that was the day our world changed. We were lucky to join the Camp Simcha family and I can’t put into words the gratitude we have for them and what they have done to support us,” says Mrs Richman.
“We didn’t realise that we needed the help emotionally until we joined Camp Simcha, and they have utterly changed our lives – for all three of us. It’s been unbelievable what they’ve offered and what it has done for us as a family so we would do everything we can to raise money to help them go from strength to strength achieving all they set out to achieve.”
Talya took on the challenge with two colleagues from her work at F3 Architects and friend, Lewis Prosser, a personal trainer – and she says it was a challenge beyond anything she had imagined.
“I had done all the training I possibly could for six months leading up to it. In terms of fitness, it was hard but I managed due to the training I had done but mentally, it was a constant battle. I found myself saying over and over again “Talya, you got this, you can do it” to override all the negative thoughts that were taking over. I wanted to be home with my family but knew they were supporting me every second.
“I thought booking an outdoor challenge in July would be a tanning opportunity but was mistaken. We had all the gear but were not prepared for the 50-60mph winds and heavy rain making the steps, the scrambling and the climbing so much more difficult.
“Before we were about to climb Crib Goch to reach our 3rd summit, due to the weather it was bordering the impassable but with ropes and additional safety we were able to do so.
“It’s incredible what a positive determined mindset can achieve. I tell Levi this all the time, there is nothing he is not capable of and must try his best which is all that matters. Some challenges and tasks may be harder for another to achieve but doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.
“There were lots of highs as well as lows … the laughter, the jokes, the team, the clear headspace – that feeling of being alone in the mountains is something like no other. Knowing that I was using this challenge to raise money for Camp Simcha made every struggle easier. It puts everything into perspective. No challenge or struggle will compare to the ones I know the children and families who are supported by Camp Simcha face. For me, my family, my little boy…just kept me going.
“After a few days being home, I have been able to process it and loved every single second of it. It’s true what they say that the hardest climbs lead to the most incredible views. I would climb so many more mountains for Camp Simcha! Ready for the next.”