Cancer patient’s ‘scary ‘ abseil 160ft down London hospital for charity

Cancer patient’s ‘scary ‘ abseil 160ft down London hospital for charity
Claire Stork, (left) abseils down the front of St Thomas’ Hospital in London (Aaron Chown/PA)
PA Wire/PA Images - Aaron Chown

A cancer patient who tackled her fear of heights by abseiling 160 feet down St Thomas’ Hospital in London dressed as Where’s Wally said the experience was “scary” but “well worth it”.

Claire Stork, a prison administrator from Woolwich in south-east London, abseiled with her two friends, Della Pearson and Levi Bowditch, to raise money for Guy’s Cancer Charity, which supports the hospital where she is currently undergoing treatment for her cancer.

Ms Stork, 42, was watched by an “encouraging” audience who cheered for her and her friends, dubbed “the party animals”, as she abseiled down until her feet touched the ground.

She was dressed as Where’s Wally in black-rimmed circular glasses, a red and white striped top, and a beanie hat of the same colour and a pink cape with her name on it, as they wanted to do something “unique” for the challenge.

St Thomas\u2019 Hospital abseilClaire Stork with Della Pearson and Levi Bowditch (Aaron Chown/PA)PA Wire/PA Images - Aaron Chown

After completing the abseil on Friday, Ms Stork told the PA news agency: “It was very scary, but very encouraging with the audience. It was well worth it.”

Ms Pearson said the experience was “very, very worth it”.

She told PA: “The worst bit is getting off the ledge because you feel like you’re falling into nothing even though you’ve got the harness on.

“But very, very worth it.”

Ms Stork said: “I’m excited to do it with my friends because they’ve been with me all the way through.”

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

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

She said: “I was diagnosed with anaplastic thyroid cancer back in January at Guy’s.

St Thomas\u2019 Hospital abseilThe trio abseiled 160 feet down St Thomas’ Hospital (Aaron Chown/PA)PA Wire/PA Images - Aaron Chown

“Since then I just want to pay (the staff) back because they’ve done no more than help me – good days, bad days, however busy they are, they’re always there to help you.

“Even when I lost my hair, they helped me through that bit by bit. They helped me buy a wig and it was so comforting.

“I just want to say a big thank you to everybody.”

Ms Stork, who was inspired to take on the feat after she saw a poster for the abseil at Guy’s Hospital, used the experience to conquer her fear of heights and practised at a high ropes course in Kent, with her nephew John, 12 and niece Ruby, 10.

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

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

“They’re always on the go and don’t relax, but no matter how busy they are, they’re always available to talk and help you.

“I want to say a big thank you to Guy’s Cancer, I have had all the support I need.”

To view Ms Stork’s fundraising page, go to:

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