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News > RGS Alumni News > 39 Steps Challenge

39 Steps Challenge

Fundraising for Childrens' Cancer Charities

An RGS Pupil is embarking on an incredible challenge this summer – to climb 39 mountains in just five weeks. Year Nine pupil Fionn and his RGS alumnus father, Deane (RGS 1979-87) are aiming to fulfil this ambition, just 16 months on from Fionn’s diagnosis with a very rare and aggressive Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in March 2020. Following diagnosis, Fionn underwent months of chemotherapy treatment, surgery and numerous stays and hospital visits, encompassing much of 2020 for both him and his family. Less than one year from the end of his treatment, Fionn is doing remarkably well and enjoying being back at school at RGS. 

Fionn’s Dad, Deane explains: “To have to deal with cancer at the age of 12 is unbelievably difficult, so I set up website and initiated the 39 Steps Challenge as a way to give something back to the amazing people and organisations that supported us through this terrible journey.”

The 39 Steps Challenge aims to raise funds for the wonderful charities and hospital that helped support Fionn and his family; Cancer Research UK, Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Teenage Cancer Trust and CLIC Sargent. 

All 39 of the mountains or Munros (a single Scottish mountain that rises to a minimum of 3,000 feet in height) are a serious undertaking and are by no means an easy jaunt. Specific routes and schedules have already been planned and they show that Fionn and his Dad expect to climb more than 25,400 metres during the course of the 5 weeks – this is over 83,400 feet and is equivalent to climbing Mount Everest 2.8 times or Ben Nevis 19 times! The family dog Bruno hopes to accompany the pair on their challenge too. 

Deane adds: “Fionn’s resilience continues to amaze me, hence our desire to draw a line under 2020 and try to do something in 2021 that will make a difference to others. We are both hopeful that we can achieve something positive with our challenge.” 

To find out more about Fionn’s journey, the 39 Steps Challenge and support the fundraising, please visit

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