Historically, I have taken part in quite a lot of sporting activities and events, predominantly this has been football, middle – long distance running and climbing. Walking is something that I haven’t really done much of, and so taking part in a walk up the biggest hill in Africa is, I suppose, jumping in at the deep end.
Over the last year or so my levels of sport and exercise came to a virtual standstill as a result of a recurring knee injury. As a result of this, in August 2010 I had a second (and hopefully last) significant operation on my right knee, this time I had to have a full Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) reconstruction, which included parts of my hamstring being grafted into my knee and a screw or two to help hold it together. Unsurprisingly this meant I was off my feet for quite a while and my recent exercises have consisted of standing on a wobble board and walking slowly on a treadmill, which compared to running, climbing and football is a bit of a climb down in terms of levels of exercise! After my previous operation I struggled with this area of physiotherapy as I became frustrated and bored at the slow progress and at times I tried progressing quicker than I should. This was partially the reason I thought signing up for the trek would be something to help keep me focussed on a longer term goal, which will hopefully help me stay on my planned physio timetable and keep me motivated during the less interesting periods of standing on that wobble board.
Barnsley Hospice and Help the Hospices in general is a very positive charity to be raising money for, living in Sheffield I have not had a great deal of contact with Barnsley Hospice specifically, nevertheless, I know from colleagues about the great work that they do. However, I am more aware of the work that the Hospice charity as a whole does and the massive beneficial impacts that they have on individuals and their families during times of uncertainty and great emotional distress, providing an end of life care service that must prove invaluable to the community each hospice serves. Therefore, combining this challenge with the opportunity to help support such an organisation adds a great deal of excitement and pride about the whole adventure.
Throwing 30 odd people together, who are predominantly strangers, and then planning to pretty much live in each others pockets for 11 days is certainly something that will raise some challenges of its own.
However, the planned training walks and fundraising events we have lined up will hopefully help build the group together. So, by the time we are embarking on the trek we will hopefully be a closely knit team ready to support each other through the long walking ahead of us.
All being well, we will all reach Uhuru Peak at the summit of Kilimanjaro on 7 October as a team, at the top of Africa hopefully witnessing a once in a life time sunrise, and that these moments will be remembered by those of us involved for the rest of our lives.
Throughout the year, as my knee improves and grows stronger I will be participating in more walks and hopefully a few runs, again to raise money towards the hospice.
Doing this for such a good cause will mean that we are raising money towards increasing the standard of living for people who really need it, and to say that I have participated in this is something that I will be immensely proud of. So I guess I’m asking anyone reading this to think about how a small contribution from you would make a massive change to someone who really needs it.
Thanks for you support!