I was born in 1963, in Lahore, Pakistan, when still a baby, my family moved to London and I grew up in Twickenham. I have led an active life, rock-climbing, mountaineering, running, skiing and swimming, both in the UK and abroad. I love the outdoors and now live in the beautiful Derbyshire Peak District, with these sports on my doorstep.
I am married to the mountaineer Roger Mear, who in 1986, with Robert Swan and Gareth Wood, made the first unsupported walk to the South Pole with the expedition ‘In the Footsteps of Scott’. For this achievement, all three members were awarded the Queen’s Polar Medal. Roger's book ‘In the Footsteps of Scott’, which documents the journey, won the Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature in 1987.
In 1996, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and had a year off work for chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Focusing on positive aspects and being determined to be well, both physically and emotionally, helped me much through that year. Having been a keen long distance runner, and never accepting that I would be anything other than recovered after my treatment, the following year with a 30% reduction in lung function, I ran the Sheffield Marathon.
The whole experience, despite the difficulties, was positive. It enabled me to develop resilience, determination, humility, compassion and patience. It’s legacy continues to help me in personal and professional lives.
I work as a surgeon in the NHS in Sheffield and an Associate Postgraduate Dean for Health Education England, working across Yorkshire and the Humber. In both these roles, I train, support and empower future consultants and leaders of the NHS. Interestingly, most of our trainees are women.
My eldest son and I were recently guests of Robert Swan, on the International Antarctic Expedition 2016 where the effects of climate change were clearly visible. This inspired me to introduce sustainability into our NHS consultant training programmes. The challenge is to reduce the carbon footprint of patient care pathways in a continued and cyclical way. I have enabled a Fellowship in Leadership Management to launch this project. I am determined to mandate this locally in our region with a view to it becoming normal practice and going national in the future.