Hodgkin's Survivor Climbs French Mountain

Hodgkin's lymphoma survivor David Couch was thwarted in the first leg of his fundraising effort for a cancer hospital when an avalanche struck on Mont Blanc. Couch was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease in 2002 but recovered after three years' chemotherapy and radiology treatment at the Royal Marsden hospital in the UK. Mrl. Couch decided to run two half-marathons and climb the French mountain to raise money for the Chelsea hospital.

Last weekend the 34-year-old surveyor was less than 50 metres from the top of the Mont Blanc du Tacul ridge when he was forced to turn back.

Mr Couch said: "I was doing it with five friends and none of us had mountaineering experience, although we did have a guide. If we had left a few hours earlier, we would have been caught in (an) avalanche. It felt much higher and steeper than I thought it would. If you fall, you can fall several thousand metres. We were pretty near the top. We were more frustrated than anything else, but our guide was sensible and said we should turn back. It made us realise how dangerous the mountain could be."

Mr Couch has raised 6,500 Pounds so far for the hospital and hopes to top 10,000 Pounds. Amanda Heaton, Royal Marsden fundraising manager, said: "We are bowled over by the extraordinary lengths David is going to for our cancer campaign."

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