Our Health ‘expert’ Dr Carol Cooper is raising awareness (and funds) for Arthritis Care by dedicating her climb of Sydney Harbour Bridge to the charity. But more than that, Carol is also looking to encourage women to see that arthritis needn’t mean the end of following dreams. Any support would be welcome!
1. What prompted you to dedicate your Sydney Harbour Bridge climb to Arthritis Care, rather than just enjoy it as a tourist experience?
In general practice I see a lot of patients debilitated by arthritis. They don’t just need medical input – they need the support of Arthritis Care to manage their pain, reduce isolation, and regain control of their lives. Before I was a GP, I worked as a hospital rheumatologist, and for a while I was at a specialist unit for arthritis in children. It’s clear to me that so much more needs to be done for all people with arthritis.
I was also influenced by personal experience of arthritis. My friend Nell, whom I’ve known since my school days, said she wanted to do the climb. Since she had two knee replacements at a young age, that made me realise how hard it might be. I myself developed arthritis 20 years ago. It’s a mild form but that’s not how it seemed when it started. That year I had to have 6 months off work, and also found it very dificult to look after my 3 young boys.
2. Having made the commitment to the charity do you feel under more pressure to make it all the way across?
I’ve got to made it all the way across – I’m told we are roped together so there’s no going back! On the plus side, that rope also makes it less likely I’ll fall into the harbour.
3. Do you have a head for heights?
No, I don’t, but I reckon it’s time I learnt.
4. What will the most challenging part be for you?
Apart from seemingly endless stairs and ladders, it’s going to be 3 hours without a mobile phone or a loo.
5. Have you had a long association with Arthritis Care?
I joined Arthritis Care many years ago and do some bits and pieces for them now and again, but have never tried to raise funds in this way before.
6. Have you set yourself any other challenges since turning 50?
If you knew me better, you wouldn’t need to ask! Basically I’m uncoordinated and pathetic at sports, though I recently went ice-skating for the first time in decades. Once I’ve done the bridge climb, I might consider other physical challenges. Maybe abseiling?
Dr Carol Cooper is climbing Sydney Harbour Bridge soon to raise funds for Arthritis Care. You can help by sponsoring her. Please visit www.justgiving.co.uk/DrCarolCooper.