On Saturday 24th April 2021, Kristeena Smith, her husband James and their two-year-old son walked up Mount Snowden in memory of her mum, Sheila.

Kristeena (left), James (right) and their son

Although her mum had been unwell for most of Kristeena’s life, she died unexpectedly in February 2020, in a hospital in Suffolk following an operation. Unfortunately, she didn’t receive the end of life care that her family had hoped for, and after working at St Wilfrid’s as a Nurse herself, Kristeena wanted to raise money for local hospice care that she knows is so vital to the community.

‘Working at the hospice and seeing the awful care that my mum received in comparison really made me appreciate hospices and how important they are to communities. That’s why I chose to raise money for St Wilfrid’s with this climb,’ she said.

As she continues to tell us more about her mum and why they chose to climb Mount Snowden in her memory, it is clear how important the cause is to Kristeena and how much her mum meant to her.

‘My mum was demanding, but she was so funny, and she taught me everything I know,’ she tells us. ‘She was very thrifty – she could spot a bargain from a mile away, and she was a fantastic cook too, often baking the most amazing cakes!

‘She spent a lot of her life in a wheelchair, but one of the things that she always wanted to do was a skydive. I love her, but there was no way I was doing a skydive! Instead, I thought that climbing up a mountain would be the closest way to reach the clouds in her memory.’

And, on a sunny spring morning, Kristeena and her family did just that.  

‘The weather started off really nice,’ she said, ‘but it took a turn as we went up the mountain. I’d seen how nice the weather was before we started and had taken all our waterproofs out of our rucksack and left them in the car. Luckily, I hadn’t taken my son’s ski suit out of the bag though because he got so cold as we made our way up and started shivering.

‘There were points when I didn’t know if I could go any further and thought we might have to turn around. One of us was carrying our son and the other was carrying a heavy backpack, and the terrain was quite slippery, so we were very hungry and tired by the time we got to the top. Going down was a lot easier! Getting to the top was amazing though, it’s a beautiful view.'

We would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to Kristeena and her family for taking on this brilliant challenge in Sheila’s memory. If you would like to show your support, you can donate to Kristeena’s JustGiving page here.