GREAT Western Hospital’s Maria Moore has raised more than £9,000 for a new life-changing breast cancer treatment after scaling the roof of North Africa.

The director of finance and performance at GWH spent 12 days in the harsh Saharan summer when she took part in a trek among Morocco’s Atlas Mountains to raise money for pioneering intra-operative radiotherapy treatment, which could improve how 150 women in Swindon recover from the disease each year.

One of the greatest challenges Maria faced on the trek – which involved climbing three mountains of more than 4,000m – was challenging her fear of heights.

She said: “I’m not 100 per cent confident when it comes to heights and on the very first summit there was a scree shelf we had to cross.

“I could here the scree falling and there was a 3,000m sheer drop, and I couldn’t move with the sound of the scree. It got to the point where people were coming towards me and I just told them they had to stop because of the sound.

“I think doing it for charity did make it easier to get through because it meant that I didn’t feel I had a choice but to get through it. That helped to keep me going.”

For Maria, who took on Mt Toubkal, Mt Ouanakrim and Mt Adrar n’Dern with her partner, Dorian Thomas, during the 72-hour challenge, the three peaks simply were not enough, with the group also climbing Timesguida Ouanoukrim and Ras Ouanoukrim.

Maria said: “We were there and we just thought, well, why not.

“It was very tough terrain and it was hard work. In hindsight we would have been better off doing more training in the Lake District than in the bridal paths of the Brecon Beacons.”

The hospital trust’s charity, Brighter Futures, is appealing for help to raise £75,000 to fund a year of the treatment, which is delivered straight to the site of the tumour in the operating room and is expected to cut recovery times and save long trips to alternative hospitals for traditional radiotherapy treatment.

Maria’s efforts helped to raise £9,522 for the cause, almost twice what she initially hoped.

l Support Maria by donating through Maria-Moore3. To follow her day-by-day account, visit her blog at www.mariaanddorianhighatlas

To suggest fundraising ideas or get involved with events, email or call 01793 605631. To donate to Brighter Futures, visit justgiving.