|26 Nov 2019|
Ten years ago Becky Gardiner (nee Wells) (1969-1982) found herself a widow with 4 young children. Her husband, Martin, passed away from pancreatic cancer, having only been diagnosed 10 days earlier. Since that day, Becky has been raising funds for the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund. Fast forward 5 years and, much to everyone’s surprise, Becky signed up to run the London Marathon. As Miss Henshaw, her PE teacher, said when she heard about this venture “Absolutely no way, Becky was never interested in running, she was more interested in boys! She must be mad but I’m so impressed that she has put her name forward!” Needless, to say Becky rose to the challenge and completed her marathon run. Miss Henshaw’s response “I don’t believe it…. that is incredible!”
This year she wanted to mark the tenth anniversary of Martin passing away. Inspired by the Toto song “Africa”, she signed up to climb Africa’s largest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro this summer with the trip organiser, Action Challenge.
For the best chance of success Becky chose the Lemosho route which entailed five days of climbing to reach the summit and two days to return to base. There were 25 people in the group and 20 reached the summit; altitude sickness resulted in five people having to return to base. She said the final day of the ascent was the hardest; walking very, very slowly every step felt like a ball of lead was attached to my feet together with a feeling of nausea, falling asleep every 10 minutes and slight dizziness. It was not only a gruelling physical challenge, but I was also dealing with a rollercoaster of emotions and completely outside of my comfort zone. This is not for the faint-hearted, however the support from my porters who were by my side, carrying my belongings and helping me up the final stretch, was incredible. I am absolutely convinced I would not have made it to the summit without their help and tipped them handsomely for being there for me. The views along the way and the thrill of reaching the top are most definitely worth it. However, it is, by far, the hardest physical challenge I have ever undertaken. Added to the physical task of walking for hours and hours every day is the altitude sickness, the camping, the extreme temperatures and getting to know a completely new set of people! This is not a relaxing stroll as I thought when I signed up a few months previously and walking up and down Box Hill a couple of times was not really the training required for this arduous task!”
Becky is delighted that she has raised over £1000 for the Pancreatic Research Fund from this challenge. Surbiton High School and The Green & Silver Club are delighted that she has shared this inspirational story with us; especially as the ducks joined her for the journey!
On the back of her Kilimanjaro climb, she is now planning, with friends from the Class of 1982, to undertake a walking challenge on the South Downs next Spring! Watch this space….!
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