Belfast Telegraph

Brave Nikki Bradley scales Ireland's four highest peaks on crutches

By David Young

A Co Donegal woman who has become the first person to scale four of Ireland's highest mountains on crutches said she is exhausted but proud.

Nikki Bradley completed the epic task yesterday.

She said: "I feel like I just want to go to sleep for the rest of my life."

Nikki (32) conquered Mount Errigal yesterday afternoon - the fourth peak in her gruelling endurance challenge to raise funds for cancer charities.

On Saturday she climbed Carrauntoohill in Co Kerry and Croagh Patrick in Co Mayo.

She began her ascent of Slieve Donard - Northern Ireland's highest mountain - before dawn yesterday. She completed the entire challenge over 24 hours.

The Letterkenny woman, who is a motivational speaker and works for Triathlon Ireland, has been on crutches for several years after treatment for cancer caused severe damage to her hip.

She was 16 when she was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma and scans showed a tumour in her pelvis.

Nikki underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment to shrink the tumour before surgery.

Her cancer was treated successfully and Nikki (left) has been cancer-free since 2004.

However, damage caused by the treatment left her with severe mobility problems and she now uses crutches.

Since her diagnosis she has undertaken many outdoor physical challenges, but this weekend's four peaks marathon will be her last as surgeons have advised they must amputate her damaged right leg soon.

Speaking yesterday after her Errigal climb, Nikki said: "I'm so tired. It was very emotional. Emotional and exhausting. It was way tougher than I ever imagined it would be. I've lots of sore joints!"

Nikki, who was supported by a back-up team, said climbing Slieve Donard was the hardest part of the challenge.

"It took us almost five hours to climb, which is quite slow even for me. Slieve Donard was very tough.

"Our tanks were empty and tiredness had taken hold.

"We started in darkness - that was pretty tough - but when the sun came up it raised all our spirits."

By the time she reached the Mournes, she was feeling the pain from a couple of slips she had on Croagh Patrick and her hip had begun to trouble her.

But fierce determination saw her through.

By mid-afternoon she had completed the four-mountain challenge. This has allowed her to raise thousands of pounds for cancer charities.

When asked what had been the most enjoyable part of the incredible achievement, Nikki burst into laughter and simply said: "Finishing it."

Belfast Telegraph

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