STAFF at the Great Western Hospital are stepping up to raise vital funds for a life-changing breast cancer treatment.

The hospital trust’s charity, Brighter Futures, is appealing for help to raise £75,000 to fund a year’s worth of intra-operative radiotherapy treatment, which could improve how 150 women in Swindon recover from the disease each year.

To show her support for the cause, director of finance and performance at the hospital, Maria Moore, is taking on Morocco’s Atlas Mountains in a 12-day trek in July.

She said: “I have friends who have had breast cancer and it put their life on hold for quite some time, and this new treatment is something that I want to support because it can cut down that recovery time.

“Doing a trek in the Atlas Moun-tains and climbing Mt Toubkal is always something I’ve wanted to do.”

As part of the challenge, Maria is taking on three peaks, each more that 4,000m high, in an ascent of 9,404m over 72 hours.

Joining her on her climb of Mt Toubkal, Mt Ouanakrim and Mt Adrar n’Dern will be her partner, Dorian Thomas.

Maria said: “I have done walks before but this is going to be a bit more of a challenge.

“Because I am doing this one for charity it needed to be tougher.

“As part of my training I am building up to walking about 30km a day.”

The new breast cancer treatment is being trialled on only a handful of hospitals around the UK as part of an international study. Intra-operative radiotherapy zaps areas affected by cancer with radiotherapy while the patient is still under anaesthetic in the operating room.

It quickens recovery times and removes the need for tiring daily journeys to dedicated radiotherapy centres in Bath and Oxford.

Maria said: “As someone who has a very busy job and works long hours, I know that having to have the traditional radiotherapy would be very tiring and stop you from doing your work.

“But the new treatment will speed the recovery up and get you back to where you want to be quicker.

“We are going to be one of six hospitals offering the service as part of an international trial.”

To help bring the treatment to Swindon, Brighter Futures – which helps pay for new treatments not available on the NHS – needs £12,500 a month to cover the cost of the machine, staffing and special safety equipment.

To support Maria, donate through her Just Giving page at www.