Earlier this year, Bradley Rogers reached the peak of Mt Kilimanjaro for Leukaemia Care. In the process, he raised an amazing £5,433! Here, we asked him a little bit about the trek, and why he decided to take on Kilimanjaro.
Why did you decide to fundraise for Leukaemia Care?
The reason I started was I had a close friend, Lee Blowers, pass away on December 8th 2015. I grew up with him through primary school and secondary school, he was 34, and he’d obviously got leukaemia and unfortunately, it beat him.
We’ve also done fun days, and last year on May 14th 2016, we raised £8,500 over at a football match, fun day, dinner and dance, and we did the same this year. This year, we raised £3,500 and then obviously did the mountain.
For the fun days, we did it for the Dacie ward in the Hammersmith Hospital. We do it every year, in the middle of May, and then just trying to spread the fundraising over different charities, we obviously then chose Kilimanjaro for Leukaemia Care.
Why did you choose the Kilimanjaro trek?
It stood out from the rest, that was probably the main reason. It wasn’t linked to anything Lee wanted to do or anything like that, but it was just something for me that I thought that when you’re going to get people to sponsor you, it was something that people would actually just go ‘wow’. That was the main reason.
How did the trek itself go?
Mentally it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It was just immense really, I’ve never done anything like it. There was even a couple of people on our trek that didn’t manage to finish it.
How long did the trek take?
It was seven days, that was start-to-finish. It was obviously 10 days door-to-door from your house and with the flights, but it was a seven-day trek.
I bet that must have been quite spectacular to be at the top of Mt Kilimanjaro
Oh, it was mental, it was absolutely mental, I got some really good photos as well. And also, just the camaraderie in regard to everyone, because everyone up there had their own story, the camaraderie with all the people up there was great.
As I say, I’ve met some of the closest people ever, just because you’re up there together, you’re involved in everything that’s going on, it was just a bit of a life-changing experience.
Once-in-a-lifetime experience as well, except you’re now going to do the Inca Trail Trek, aren’t you?
Yeah, I signed up for that in April next year, obviously again linked to Leukaemia Care, so that’s another one that’s on the list.
Why did you decide to take on another one?
I don’t know, just to keep it going, just keep the momentum going.
I own a couple of businesses and I just like doing things, just helping people. It’s about keeping Lee’s memory alive as well, and that’s obviously one of the main reasons. That probably helps with my grieving as well I think.
How do you prepare for the treks?
Just grab my kit and away I go!
I go to the gym every morning. They’ve got a thing there called the Prowler, and I go on that every day. I do long walks, I did Ben Nevis and Scaffold Pike in preparation for Kilimanjaro.
For next year, I probably won’t even start training for that until after Christmas to be honest. I’ll probably go up Ben Nevis and that again to be honest with you. I’m quite a physically fit person anyway, it wasn’t so much the fitness, I know it was more just the mindset. And I’m just hoping that the Inca Trail will be the same thing.
What fundraising plans do you have to raise the money?
This year for Kilimanjaro I had corporate sponsorship from my business, so I obviously had contacts that I know who paid £250 to have a space on my t-shirt. I did a couple of Facebook lives obviously promoting their business, and then it was literally just Facebook post after Facebook post after Facebook post that got me up to where I was on that target. But I’ve got quite a good following on Facebook through my business and through just networking I suppose.
Obviously, that’s the thing I’m getting used to with the charity stuff. It is hard to keep that flow going when people donate for one thing, and then trying to ask them to donate again, you do have to try and start thinking outside the box a little bit.
A race night, I’m thinking about that. I’m thinking about even a karaoke night, little things like that just to try and mix it up a little bit. I’ve just took over a gym as well, so I’ll obviously then be doing things through that gym like competitions and fun days and fancy dress and all little things through that. I think after Christmas we’ll start hitting it hard, obviously trying to reach that magic target again.
What do you enjoy most about taking on these treks?
Just meeting new people, I suppose, just meeting people who are going through the same kind of thing. The camaraderie, that’s the best thing about the treks.