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Six workers from Exeter headed off to take on the heights of Kilimanjaro for FORCE Cancer Charity

PUBLISHED: 16:46 20 October 2010 | UPDATED: 18:02 20 February 2013

Six workers from Exeter headed off to take on the heights of Kilimanjaro for FORCE Cancer Charity

Six workers from Exeter headed off to take on the heights of Kilimanjaro for FORCE Cancer Charity

On September 24th a group of 6 workers from Exeter headed off to take on the heights of Kilimanjaro for FORCE Cancer Charity.

On September 24th a group of 6 workers from Exeter headed off to take on the heights of Kilimanjaro for FORCE Cancer Charity. The team, consisting of Sarah Willocks (Fundraising Manager at FORCE); Maggie Shepherd (Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer at the PMS / Senior Research Fellow at the RD&E); Tim McDonald (Senior Biochemist at the RD&E); Sarah Flanagan (Post-Doctoral research fellow at the PMS); Jan Smith (PA to the Dean at the Peninsula Medical School) and Sian Ellard (Head of the Molecular Genetics Laboratory at the RD&E) spent many weeks walking the coast paths, commons and Tors across Devon and, between them, bought up plenty of stock from Taunton Leisure, Cotswold Outdoor and Moorland Rambler!

Why Kili? As Sian said four of us discovered the delights of trekking in Peru three years ago when we raised money for a local diabetes charity. We were seeking a testing challenge that would both push us to new limits and persuade our friends, families and work colleagues to support us.

Maggie added FORCE is a superb local charity, supporting anyone affected by Cancer. We decided that the challenge of raising funds to support a local cause far outweighed the long days walking, cold nights camping, altitude sickness and fatigue we would be likely to experience!

Mount Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania, Africa and rises to an altitude of 5896m (19,341ft) the group had to climb to the summit camp in 4 days and then head up to the peak overnight between day 4 and into day 5.

The trek was incredible said Jan we walked through the dusty African plains through the thick forest and up on to the moorland before rising to the spectacular views and ice formations of the glaciers up at Stella Point before reaching the highest point of the crater, Uhuru Peak.

Tim and Sarah, came back saying 'the trip was incredible and a once in a lifetime experience. The group camaraderie was great; everyone played a part in supporting those who were suffering from the effects of altitude sickness (headaches, vomiting, upset stomachs). We were in awe of everything we saw and experienced from the porters who carry the kitbags, tents, food and items for the week to the views we experienced everyday above the clouds as we got nearer our goal - truly memorable'...

Altitude sickness did set in and the group certainly had their struggles and it is with sadness that we report not everyone made the summit only 21 out of the group of 30 made the Uhuru Peak photo. I am very pleased to say that that photo included 3 of the Exeter crew.

Fund-raising Manager for FORCE, Sarah Willocks said the trek pushed us to our limits both physically and mentally but the rewards were worth it raising in excess of 6000 for FORCE. The charity needs to raise in excess of 750,000 a year to run a Cancer Support Centre in Exeter; to fund two research studentships at the Peninsula Medical School and to fund essential equipment for the Oncology Department at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital on behalf of FORCE I cannot thank my friends enough for taking part in this challenge and to all their friends and families for helping raise such a wonderful sum of money. This is the hardest thing I have ever done but I now have a lifetime of memories.

It is not too late to support the team you can donate monies by sending cheques payable to FORCE to FORCE Cancer Charity, Corner House, Barrack Road, Exeter EX2 5DW


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