Kilimanjaro the final test for Bedford fundraiser inspired by younger brother

Oli and Nicky
Oli and Nicky

A five-year challenge to raise funds in support of children facing bowel disease is to end this month as a Bedford man faces his final test.

Oli Monks, 26, is now on his way to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, the last of nine fundraisers held since 2013.

It was then that Oli’s younger brother Nicky was diagnosed, aged 10, with Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disease. Oli dreamt up an ambitious fundraising initiative for the charity CICRA and it’s now set to reach its conclusion.

Oli said: “Coupled with his autism it has meant that Nicky, now aged 19, took on a great number of challenges growing up and faced long spells out of school due to his illness.

“Crohn’s disease has a varying severity of impact upon every individual but at best, it is still a very unpleasant condition to live with.

“Nicky’s situation escalated where after different attempts at treatment, serious surgery was required.”

Whilst Crohn’s disease is still without a cure, there is now a great deal of support available and funding being put into research to help treat the condition. CICRA is a charity which provides just that specifically for young people and their families who are affected by Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Nicky and his family received plenty of support from the charity and the surgeon at Addenbrooke’s who works closely with the charity.

Oli said: “It is years on now since that surgery and whilst there are still challenges, the surgery and support has meant that Nicky can focus on living a healthy and independent life.”

It was following the surgery that Oli was inspired to do something and with his brother as inspiration he set up a campaign called Nine for Nicky. The aim was to raise £9,000 by completing nine different fundraising challenges over the five years. The challenges have been a mix of running, cycling, trekking and a 15,000ft drop out of the sky.

In May, Oli completed challenge number 8, the Geneva Marathon.

This week Oli has set off for Africa and the final challenge of trekking up Mount Kilimanjaro. The campaign has already raised over the £9,000 target and Oli and his family are hoping for one final fundraising push before the campaign comes to an end. Visit www.justgiving.com/NineForNicky and www.ninefornicky.co.uk

For more details about the charity CICRA visit www.cicra.org