As National Storytelling Week begins, Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity shares Anita’s fundraising story.
January might be almost over but your New Year’s resolution to cycle from London to Paris or run a 10k need not be. Why not begin your story by signing up for a challenge and helping Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children's Charity to support seriously ill children in the UK?
If you need more of an incentive, have a read of Anita’s story below. Last year she tested her strength and stamina by successfully climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, raising almost £4,000 for the Charity through this incredible challenge.
“I have never been a natural athlete to say the least. Climbing Kilimanjaro has always been on the ‘bucket list’ though, and I thought it would be an amazing opportunity to raise money for a great cause. I also knew it would be a huge personal challenge - I had 18 months to get fit and raise the £3,600 minimum sponsorship money. Friends and family were brilliant from the start - some donated generously, whilst others baked cakes for sales or offered much-needed moral support and advice. My partner showed tremendous support and even joined me on a 36-mile trek. Before I knew it, the fundraising deadline was upon me but thanks to some wonderful people I had raised more than my target.
The big day quickly came around. I met some of the other group members on the plane and, when we reached Tanzania, we met our guide, Henk. He told us in no uncertain terms not to talk or ask questions about the summit night. He explained that worrying about it would affect our ability to make it to the top. There were 30 of us in all, representing many different charities, ages and abilities.
The first day was spent walking through beautiful rainforest. The locals told us to take it ‘Pole, Pole’ (’Slowly, Slowly’ in Swahili). The altitude made us very short of breath but we went at a steady pace before arriving at the first huts where we would spend the night. The following day, after an early start, we set off in hot sun. The heat and the thin air made it difficult to catch my breath and, for a while, I thought I couldn't go on. We arrived at Horombo huts at about 3pm, then continued on an acclimatisation walk which involved going higher up the mountain before coming back down to where we would sleep, to allow our bodies to adjust to the altitude.
The following evening, after another day's trekking, members of the group then took time to speak about their chosen charities. This was an emotional experience which brought us all closer as a group and made us even more determined.
We set off after breakfast in high spirits. The landscape changed, and became very barren and dusty. The dust got into our lungs and the trek was tougher as we approached Kibo huts, the last stop before tackling the summit.
The following evening, after a short sleep, we were woken at 10pm to set off for the summit. We had heard that the group the night before had a 50% failure rate but that they had not taken time to acclimatise. Some of us were suffering with mild altitude sickness by this stage but we were all determined to make it. We set off in the dark, wearing our head torches. It was very cold and we trekked in single file, seeing only scree and the feet of the person in front of us. This continued for five hours and the guides sang songs to keep us going. I looked down the mountain and saw lines of head-torch lights in the dark, taking different routes up the mountain. They looked like lines of ants, and I wished good luck to everyone who was trying to make it that night.
After some scrambling we reached Gilman’s point. This meant we had officially climbed Kilimanjaro, but we continued onwards to Uhuru Peak. The sunrise over the crater was breath taking and we were all absolutely exhausted but high on the fact that every one of us in the group made it. It was an incredible experience with wonderful people that I will never forget.
We raised £3,840 in total, thank you to everyone who supported me and Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children's Charity.”
We are truly grateful for Anita’s support and we are thrilled that she made it to the top.