Devon parents set to ‘scale Everest’ for cause that supported them through devastating decision

Cat and her boyfriend Mark are climbing the height of Everest in a day to raise funds for ARC

Cat and her boyfriend Mark are climbing the height of Everest in a day to raise funds for ARC - Credit: Archant

Cat and Mark raise funds in memory of Stanley

A couple faced with a heart-breaking decision over their unborn baby are raising funds for the charity that helped them through a devastating time.

Cat Lee, 32, and her boyfriend Mark, 36, plan to scale the height of Mount Everest in one day, at The Quay Climbing Centre in Exeter, to raise awareness of Antenatal Results and Choices (ARC).

The 8,848-metre-high challenge - that amounts to 553 trips up and down the wall each and eight hours of solid climbing - will also be in memory of their little boy Stanley, who was diagnosed with a serious heart defect and died just two hours after his birth.

Cat, who grew up in Temple Street, Sidmouth, said ARC supported them through a terrible time, but few people are aware of the small charity that helps parents go through antenatal screening.

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Now Exeter-based, the couple have a 17-month-old daughter, Flo, and were delighted to find out last year that they were expecting another baby.

Sonographer Cat said: “It was at the 20-week scan we found out he [Stanley] had a really awful heart problem, so we were left in a position where we had to make a decision about whether to carry on with the pregnancy or not.”

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Describing the heartache she and Mark went through, Cat said ARC was amazing in providing help, advice, information and support. She added: “I felt like a coward whichever way I turned. I felt like my heart was breaking, that my head could not comprehend what was happening.

“I was seething with anger that we were in this place and having to make an impossible decision.”

Stanley was born in a special bereavement room in the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital on August 21, 2015. He only survived for two hours and died on August 22, but the couple were able to spend time with him before saying goodbye.

They are also organising a raffle to raise money and give something back to the ‘fantastic’ Heartsease room that is specially set aside for parents who know their baby will not survive.

The proceeds will fund hand and foot casts of babies for grieving parents and the couple have received a host of prizes from local businesses to support their cause.

A total of £855 has already been pledged for the climbing challenge, which will take place next Saturday, May 28.

Drop in to The Quay Climbing Centre to offer support or buy a raffle ticket to help reach the £400 target needed to fund the Heartsease casting project.

To donate or find out more, visit: and

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