Frankie and Ralphie Coster, aged 5 and 2, recently took on Mount Snowdon in honour of their Grandad, Pete Thompson, raising over £2,000 for King’s College Hospital’s Brain Injury Fund.
On 4th May 2019, Pete was rushed to King’s after suffering a burst brain aneurysm, and underwent six hours’ emergency surgery. Pete spent 6 weeks in King’s, but sadly passed away on 15th June.
Climbing mountains was just one thing that Pete loved to do. He loved Wales and had climbed Snowdon a number of times, in all kinds of severe weather conditions. So, to follow in his footsteps, and to see what Pete experienced with their own eyes, his family decided to climb Snowdon in his honour. And after enduring the most horrendous time of their lives, they decided to do it in support of King’s College Hospital’s Brain Injury Fund, to help others in a similar situation.
In Frankie’s words, “to make people better”.
On 23rd August 2019, the family set off on their Snowdon adventure, heading to Wales for camp for the long weekend. And on 25th August, after an extremely early start, Frankie and Ralphie started their first ever mountain climb, especially for Grandad. Climbing the Miners Track, stopping off for frequent breaks, taking in the most amazing scenic views, playing in the lakes and refuelling with plenty of food and drink, both boys reached the summit in 5 hours, before scrambling their way back down the Pyg Track in 4. A nine hour round trip in heat that was unheard of on the mountain.
It wasn’t just like climbing up a hill – they had to physically climb rocks and at times scramble their way up and down. Even the adults were struggling! Along their journey, the family met many other climbers who were amazed at how well Frankie and Ralphie were doing. When they stopped to chat, the boys showed off their shirts – made especially by their Mum (Pete's daughter), Keely, adorned with a special blue heart to signify Grandad; an inspiration to everyone on the mountain.
Frankie walked the entire way up and down, carrying his rucksack containing food, drink and spare clothing. And Ralphie, aged 2, climbed his first mountain… in his pants! He climbed almost all of the way up and a good part of the way down, with only a little snooze on his uncle towards the end.
Frankie was extremely close to his Grandad, and at 5 years of age had a profound understanding of why the family was climbing Snowdon. Eager to raise as much money as possible, he actively promoted the climb and kept people posted along the way, sharing his preparation and sponsorship updates.
On 7 November 2019 we were delighted to welcome Frankie and Ralphie (and Mum Keely) back to King’s College Hospital, where they presented a cheque to brain injury nurse consultant John Ling, a member of the team who cared for Pete.
The money Frankie and Ralphie raised for King’s College Hospital’s Brain Injury Fund will help to:
- Purchase specialist equipment
- Purchase furniture to make staying at the hospital more comfortable for families
- Support the development of new posts at King’s (e.g. clinical psychologist)
- Train surgeons in the techniques for treating aneurysms
- Train staff in ways to support people recovering from brain injuries and their families
If you would like to honour a loved one, or fundraise for a particular ward or department, please contact our Community Fundraising team who can speak to you about how your support can help King's College Hospital continue its pioneering research and outstanding patient care.