After a tough two-year delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Demelza were thrilled to finally see off our incredible team of mountaineers as they embarked on their Mount Kilimanjaro Trek at the end of September!

The team – made up of Demelza staff, independent fundraisers, and even the parent of a Demelza service user – hiked through Tanzania for an impressive six days, tackling anywhere from six to twelve hours of walking a day! The experience was capped off when they summitted Kilimanjaro itself, the tallest freestanding mountain in the world.

Jo, who works at Demelza as a Family Liaison Practitioner and took on the challenge with less than a month’s notice, said: “It was tough, but fun, and a constant reminder to all how privileged we are to be able to move our bodies in this way.” She then went on to tackle the Royal Parks Half Marathon in support of Demelza just a week later!

David, a 55-year-old financial services manager, was another of the determined participants. David is an experienced hiker, having spent 13 years tackling the UK’s most challenging walks, but still found Kilimanjaro a daunting process. “The challenge was as much mental as it was physical,” said David. “With altitude sickness and very few hours of sleep, it was tough to stay motivated. There was a moment halfway up to the summit, though, where the sun finally started to rise and we all felt spurred on to finish what we’d started. It was a real joy to complete the trek, and also a massive relief. I’d say that the entire experience was life-affirming for me, and hopefully our fundraising will be life-changing for the families Demelza supports.”

That fundraising will certainly make a difference. As if summitting Kilimanjaro wasn’t impressive enough, the team’s unbelievable efforts have also raised over £100,000 (and counting) for Demelza. These funds are vital to our mission, as we offer expert care and emotional support to over 600 children with serious or terminal conditions and their loved ones across Kent, South East London and East Sussex.

Larissa, Demelza’s Senior Events Executive who both organised the trip and took on the challenge herself, said: “I’m so thrilled to have taken part in this challenge, and raised such an incredible amount of money to fund Demelza’s services. It was an experience unlike any other. There were days that were incredibly tough, of course – but it was such an incredible bonding experience, and our close-knit team supported each other all the way to the top. The whole experience has moved me in a way I didn’t think was possible, and I’d urge anyone to do something like this if they get the chance.”

If you’re feeling inspired by our team’s story and want to take on a challenge like no other, as well as raising vital funds for Demelza’s services, you’re in luck; Demelza has more challenge events in the works! In September 2023, amateur and expert cyclists alike can take part in our Paris to Kent Cycle. This new and exciting route will see you take on a 175-mile cycle across the beautiful French countryside and scenic towns, as well as taking in Paris' famous attractions such as the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe. The challenge culminates with your arrival at Demelza’s Kent hospice in Sittingbourne, where you will be greeted by our amazing team on the second day of our Open Weekend!

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