Joni’s lab coat climb

4 October 2022

Joni and friends photographed on the side of Ben Nevis with a cloudy sky

On 8 August, third-year Medical Sciences student Joni Bousie completed the challenging climb to the top of Ben Nevis in Scotland, alongside friends including third-year Biomedical Sciences student and experienced hiker, Phil Gill, to raise money for The National Brain Appeal

Joni and her group wore their lab coats at the top of the mountain as a tribute to her late brother James Brindle, a medical scientist who passed away three years ago from glioblastoma, and to bring attention to the lack of cancer research funds that are allocated to brain tumour research.

In our previous article on Joni’s inspiration and preparation for the hike, she shared that she had suffered a viral infection which completely transformed her life, leaving her unable to complete day-to-day tasks. Walking exercises were an important aspect of Joni’s rehabilitation programme and as her health improved, she felt inspired to make the most of every day. “At that point I started to think about Ben Nevis and climbing that mountain. My brother was an avid walker and always wanted to hike Ben Nevis. My life was never in the balance, but being given quality of life again means I want to make the most of every opportunity, and this hike is in memory of my brother who no longer has that chance.”

On the day of the hike, Joni’s group began their journey at ‘Heart Attack Hill’, as the locals call it, and followed the Mountain Path until they reached the summit four and a half hours later. On their travels they also met other teams who were hiking in aid of Marie Curie and Muscular Dystrophy UK

Descending the mountain took longer and was far more arduous due to deteriorating weather conditions. “We ran into the cloud base from around 700m and there were very high winds which really drove the temperature down: minus two on the summit with freezing fog. So we couldn't stop for long. No stunning views from the top unfortunately, we could just about see each other!” This didn't dampen their spirits, though; with Phil’s hill-walking expertise, their unwavering support for one another and many songs along the way, the group managed to complete the entire trip in nine hours and 45 minutes.

So far, Joni and her friends have raised an incredible £1,200 for The National Brain Appeal, smashing their initial target of £1,000. If you’d like to make a donation to show your support for their inspiring achievement, the link is still open on their Just Giving webpage.

Feeling motivated by their accomplishment, Joni said, “now we are looking for ideas as to what the next challenge will be!”.