Christie employee who lost her leg in climbing accident to tackle Alps trek for charity

Press release post 05 August 2019

A radiography aide who lost her leg in a horrific climbing accident that nearly claimed her life, is set to take on a gruelling trek across the Alps to raise funds for the world renowned Christie hospital.

Emily Woodroofe, who works in the CT scanning department at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, a specialist cancer centre in Manchester, has vowed to conquer three countries in three days, despite losing part of her right leg after it was badly crushed when a boulder fell on it in 2016.

Emily Woodroofe

Emily, 26, was minutes from death after the huge boulder landed on her while she was in the Northwest Highlands of Scotland. Emily was bouldering with friends near Torridon when the huge rock dislodged and fell on her leg, leaving it severely damaged and her in life-threatening danger.

After life-saving treatment by GPs who raced to the scene and Torridon and Kinlochewe Mountain Rescue Team, the Coastguard flew Emily to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, before she was transferred by air ambulance to St Mary’s Hospital in London.

After many agonising days and numerous operations, and following discussions with surgeons, Emily courageously decided that her only option was to have her leg amputated below the knee.

Emily Woodroofe

After recovering from the operation and being given a prosthetic limb, Emily was soon back out in the hills only months after the accident and is now set to conquer the Alps in September to raise funds for the department she works in.

Emily, who is originally from Ealing in West London, said: “It's perhaps one of the hardest decisions you can possibly imagine to decide to have a leg amputated but our patients go through much tougher choices and much more pain and agony. They deserve the new 4D CT scanner and perhaps one day, with it, we'll see the end to this awful disease.

“I feel honoured to be able to take part in fundraising for the benefit of all our brave patients. I'm really looking forward to it.”

The trek will see nearly 40 participants trek through Switzerland, Italy and France in just three days to raise money for a new 4D CT scanner as part of a much-needed revamp of The Christie’s CT department.

The new scanner will combine CT scans with video X-ray, providing enhanced images to make some treatments possible during the scanning process. This will help increase efficiency and reduce waiting times.

Following her accident, Emily wrote a blog, describing her accident through the days and months that followed and challenges she faced.

Emily, who lives in Withington, south Manchester, added: “It would be a lie to say I'm not nervous. The accident seems so long ago and yet I'm still recovering from it but I love the hills and at no time did I ever question whether I would be back out there on them.

Emily Woodroofe

“There's something about waking up ridiculously early to hike in the wind and rain, soaked through to the bone and absolutely knackered, that I just can't get enough of. So even though I'm nervous, I'm also looking forward to being able to raise money for a cause close to my heart whilst doing something I truly enjoy.”

Marie Toller, Head of Major Relationships, said: “Emily’s story is truly inspirational and her commitment and dedication to this challenge is incredible.

“We have had such an amazing response to the Alps Trek and we hope that Emily and all our other trekkers have an unforgettable experience.

“We are thrilled that so many people signed up so quickly to raise vital funds for a new 4D CT scanner and their efforts are hugely appreciated.”

The Christie charity supports the work of The Christie NHS Foundation Trust providing enhanced services over and above what the NHS funds. This includes money for care and treatment, research, education and extra patient services. Gifts from the public make a huge difference to the care and treatment that The Christie is able to provide to our patients and their families. The charity has more than 53,000 supporters who helped raise £13.9m last year. 

The Christie NHS Foundation Trust was the first specialist trust to be rated as ‘Outstanding’ twice (in 2016 and 2018) by the health regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC). It referred to The Christie as ‘a leader in cancer care’ and ‘a pioneer in developing innovative solutions to cancer care.’ The CQC praised the Trust’s staff which it said ‘go the extra mile to meet the needs of patients and their families’ and that they were ‘exceptionally kind and caring.’ In 2017, the CQC rated The Christie as the best specialist trust in the country, and one of the top three trusts overall in England.