MACHU PICCHU TREKKERS TAKE ON EPIC CHALLENGE TO RAISE VITAL FUNDS FOR LOCAL CHILDREN’S HOSPICE

A team of intrepid trekkers have returned from the adventure of a lifetime in Peru, having raised a fantastic £60,000 for Julia’s House children’s hospice.

Twenty adventurers joined the Julia’s House five-day trek across the Machu Picchu – Abra Salkantay area of Peru. The team included members of families supported by the charity and Julia’s House Director of Care, Claire Hudson-Cooper. The journey there, organised in conjunction with The Different Travel Company, involved two days of travelling and three flights in order to reach Cusco, once the capital of the Inca Empire, where the team spent their first couple of days acclimatising to the altitude.

“It didn’t take long for people to start feeling the effects of altitude sickness, which although expected, can be hard to cope with,” recalls Julia’s House Events Assistant, Isobel Langrish, who headed up the team. “But everyone did so well and despite the challenges we all carried on and started the five-day trek. For the first few nights we camped under the stars in between our day treks which was wonderful and we made it to our highest point, 4600m above sea level, which is the same height as the top of Mont Blanc. We were so thrilled at such an achievement.

“While everyone had prepared, I think we were all a bit shocked at how much the altitude affected our fitness. We had to stop every 20 steps to catch our breath and because our appetite was supressed it was hard to keep our energy levels up with food without feeling nauseous. Once we reached the highest point in the snowy mountains, we started the descent into the lower valley jungles, where we encountered midges – even two weeks later the bites are still itching!”

The team wasn’t daunted though, and persevered to make it to Aguas Calientes at the bottom of the Inca site at Machu Picchu, where they were rewarded with the unique sight they had all come to see – the ruins of the citadel built by the Incas in around 1450.

“The whole place was just magical and it still doesn’t feel real that we’ve been there!” Isobel admits. “I think the whole group agreed that the trek was one of the hardest things that we have ever done but it was also one of the most rewarding experiences and the most beautiful place to visit. The views were incredible and we hardly saw anyone apart from Incas, mules and the occasional fellow trekker. We were very lucky to get to experience Peru this way while also raising money for the families cared for by Julia’s House.  It was a very special trip and I feel so proud of all the trekkers for having made it. It is something none of us will ever forget.”

One of Isobel’s companions on the trek was Julia’s House Trustee and Parent Ambassador, Justin Kline, who said, “I’m really proud and humbled to be a part of such an amazing team. Everyone supported each other in so many ways. It was physically and emotionally tough. It was a personal achievement to reach the Salkantay pass at 4600 metres, something I wasn’t sure I could do due to the altitude.  Machu Picchu was simply breath-taking. I’m proud to have completed the trek in memory of my daughter Sophie who was cared for by the nurses at Julia’s House.”

Julia’s House is your local children’s hospice, looking after the most seriously ill children across Dorset and Wiltshire.  These children need 24-hour care for their complex and often rare medical conditions, which puts a huge amount of pressure on their families.  Their conditions are often incurable and many are not expected to live beyond early adulthood.

Julia’s House receives just eight per cent ongoing government funding, and without the support of amazing fundraisers giving their time and energy to events like the Machu Picchu trek, would be unable to continue its lifeline of care.

If you are interested in helping local families by joining Julia’s House for a physical fundraising challenge, the charity’s new overseas treks for 2023 will be revealed very soon at www.juliashouse.org

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