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I’m happy to announce, its coming to you from a happy camper, fit but tired and proud to announce that I came and conquered Kilimanjaro and not just Stella point but to the very top 19,340.5 ft to the Uheru Peak!
The team of 28 unknown strangers, shining and shy that set out on this journey came back completely changed and bonded forever in dust, dirt and amazing friendships. As part of the team I didn’t know anyone and arrived at the airport with mixed feelings of excitement and nerves. Once I had located the group and had sat down for a coffee, we quickly started to bond sharing our fears- mostly regarding the weight of our packs and our playlists for the journey, which consisted of 'Eye of the Tiger' the 'Ice Age' theme tune and 'Aint no mountain high enough'.
After the long flight and fun drive to the hotel we were all geared up for the briefing and ready to find out who our roomy was, something that would be vital over the next 10 days of baby wiping and tossing and turning in our sleeping bags.
Budded up we left for the bottom of the mountain at 5am and the trek began. 6 of us instantly became close and it was the start of the ‘Gang’ or the ‘Naughty ones’ as the guides called us, walking sticks out, packs on and banter at the ready we were on our way. The road was easy to begin, through the shelter of the rainforest but nothing prepared us for what was yet to come. We held the group together with the iPod on full and the back pack buckaroo game relentlessly continuing on we were dancing up, and getting filthier by the minute, we now had 4 days worth of dirt on our faces and under our fingernails that we just started to embrace the dirt. The boots no longer stayed outside the tent and the hand gel just became a pointless piece of kit, we had been transformed from the shinny campers on day one to dirt bags and we all loved it, even our pristine Essex fellow camper that had actually put fake tan in his deat was now unfazed by the grime.
Dirty and tired and 11 hours of climbing on day 5 we had reached our base camp which was on the side of a cliff and so so windy. Four hours of sleep later we woke for the big summit night walk at 1am with the anxiety in our stomachs and the chill of the cold we set off with 6 layers of clothes on, hand heat pads in our gloves and head touches shining we started the accent.
In single file with only the visibility of the person feet in front to guide us, we put one step in front of the other and had to take it a step at a time, with the oxygen levels thinning and the wind getting colder and stronger each step felt like I had run a marathon. Taking 3 deep breaths every couple of steps I had my now close friends pushing me on, and the thought of everyone that had helped me fundraise, shaved their hair and sponsored me in my mind stopping was never even considered, we all trudged on each of us having our moments of weakness and each of us pushing the other one on!
As the sun came up and we envisioned this amazing breath taking view of Tanzania seeing the distance we had already come the rest seemed so easy, with the summit insight and the sun now beaming down on us the positivity in me reached its highest and managed to encourage my team to get to Stella and on to Uheru!
This was the emotional stage, we had made it, we had conquered Kili and we had all done it together, we were all so proud of each other and so happy we had started and finished the journey together.
So all the training paid off and I am ready for another challenge, I have now raised £4700.00 and people are still giving. It was the most life changing experience that I will remember forever and made friends that will remain close to my heart. For the people and Leukaemia Care I done it for I hope this will help even if it’s a small part of what I can do, lets hope this makes a difference.