This August I will be preparing my backpack, strapping on my hiking boots and heading to Tanzania. I will be embarking on a 62-kilometre journey up the world’s largest free-standing mountain (5895m), Mount Kilimanjaro. I know what you are probably thinking, why would I want to spend my Summer putting my leg muscles through pain, enduring the African heat (and bugs!) and sleeping on the mountainsides throughout the six days of the climb?

Well, whilst I very much love a challenge, physically and mentally, there is a much bigger goal in mind. In the months preceding the climb, I will be restlessly fundraising on behalf of a charity called Dig Deep. They provide taps, toilets and training to the people of Kenya. This will mean they will readily have access to clean water, a human right that so many of us take for granted. It also means more time can be spent in education for young children as they will have less time off ill; a consequence of the unsanitary water they must settle for. I felt a strong urge to become a part of this as I am training to be a doctor and global health is something I am passionate about. Not only this, but I thought, why leave this to someone else? The only way we can start to see positive changes in the world is to be proactive and engage in things ourselves! No matter if this is in a big way or in a small way, we must take the first step ourselves. And so, I shall be stepping foot on this dormant volcano in the hope I can make positive changes to peoples lives who are without something I have so luckily had my whole life.

This thought is what will drive me through the trek in times of struggle when I undoubtedly will begin to question my values and morality. Even through the pain and burning in my calves it will be a reminder to take another step. Surrounded by new friends that I hope to make on this group adventure, I hope that we relish in the discomforts and hope that we can support one another to climb onwards and upwards.

As a child, I have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by endless opportunities. A loving family who supported me and made me question myself, to help me grow as an individual. A good education which I ensured I made the most of to follow my dream of one day becoming a surgeon. Food, water and shelter to keep me healthy and protected. I want to utilise these things to bring as much good to as many people as possible with the life that I have been given.

Why now? Why not! Life is too short to leave it for another day. I want to take advantage of my youth and my energy whilst I can.

How am I I feeling prior to the adventure? I can’t lie, I think I am most nervous about raising the money to enable me to get out there and help fund the amazing charities work. To combat this, alongside my studies, I am fundraising as much as I am able. Not only this but I aim to run around my University campus twice a week and go to the gym every Wednesday. This is to keep a healthy mind and body and to continue conditioning my body to make the climb as enjoyable and comfortable as I can. It can, however, be very difficult to balance my time, including sleeping and eating well and maintaining something of a social life to enhance my wellbeing. After a consultation with a nurse about the vaccines I require, I am also feeling anxious about getting ill whilst I am over there. I did not realise the precautions that must be taken. Nevertheless, a small price to pay if it will bring good to others.
So far, I have been doing cake sales, tombolas, festival stalls, face paint, glow sticks, raffles, using social media, selling ‘magic reindeer food’, gaining sponsorships from local businesses, family and friends. I also wrote to my local newspaper and got a full page spread in one of the papers. I also plan to bag pack in supermarkets, make the most of summer by hosting BBQs and parties and doing more things within university such as fashion shows, quizzes and a vintage swap shop. I have even considered using my passion for singing and going busking! Throughout my fundraising journey, I have met many amazing people whom, if not donated themselves, have helped me raise money in some way. For example, I met a gentleman who gave me some of his amazing photography work, framed, for me to use in a raffle.

Whilst I still have some way to go, I am very happy with the progression I am making towards my goal of £3000. If my fitness levels remain just as strong as my passion to raise money for this amazing charity, then I should reach the top of that mountain with no trouble! And, would have helped improve the quality of many lives along the way.

If anyone happens to be reading this and would like to sponsor me or contribute to this amazing cause, then please visit:
https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/sophiesclimb

You will also find more information here about where the money is going and my motivation to climb.

Thank you for reading.

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