MW Competition Entry Image
Rhiannon tackles the Himalayas for Cancer
Raising money for Tenovus

My Inspiration

There were a number of reasons for undertaking this challenge. The first was to raise money for Tenovus, Wales’ leading cancer charity and one very close to my heart following my husband’s diagnosis of cancer in July 2011. The other was a more personal challenge as I wanted to lose a few pounds and improve my fitness. Coupled with an inherent Welsh love of mountains this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Experience

I have never completed a challenge like this before but haven’t let that put me off. A number of the other trekkers, who will be travelling at the same time, will be in the same situation and I’m sure we will support each other through the tricky bits. I haven’t met the other trekkers as yet as they are from across the UK and taking part for other charities, but I’m sure we will become great friends. There is nothing like 10,000ft to bring people together!

My Charity TenovusMe and some of the Team Tenovus at Snowdon

I began working for Tenovus in 2011, just three weeks before my husband’s diagnosis and love every moment. Every day brings a new opportunity to really make a difference to someone affected by cancer. I work as the Cancer Support Services Manager, looking after the Freephone Support Line and working with the most caring, supportive and selfless group of people I have ever met.

Tenovus provides innovative and practical support services whenever and wherever it's needed most, in the heart of the community. They have a network of shops across Wales and South West England and fund vital research to improve the outcomes and experiences for people with cancer. In 1943, Tenovus was founded by ten businessmen. Initially, the charity funded a wide range of projects in the local area. These ranged from building the Sunshine House for Blind Babies just outside Cardiff to donating a washing machine to a widow with seven children who had lost an arm. Since the 1960s, Tenovus have concentrated their efforts on cancer and are now recognised for their pioneering work.

Biggest Goal

Aside from the fundraising goal of £2,500 (which I have smashed with £4,300 raised at the last count), the biggest goal for me was to get fit enough for the challenge. If you were to picture the most unfit person you know and then throw in a few takeaway pizzas, you would find me in all my glory! I am now about 3 stone lighter and can run more than 100m without being sick – real progress.

Biggest Obstacle

The biggest obstacle I have faced has been time. Although I signed up for the challenge with over a year ahead of me, working full time with two young boys, a recovering husband and a side-line as a professional musician left minimal time for training.

The Challenge

The challenge starts on 26th September 2013 and will run for 11 days. I will land back in the UK on the 6th of October. We will be trekking for 6 days in total, with an average of 7 hours walking each day at altitudes of about 10,000ft.

Training

Despite the hectic lifestyle, I started training in February 2013. I employed a personal trainer for two gruelling sessions each week and have been made to run up sand dunes, sprint, throw medicine balls and skip – all of which have been coupled with every element the British weather can throw at me. On top of these sessions, I have also walked at least 15 miles per week, in the dark, the fog, the rain and the blistering heat.

Kit

As this is my first overseas trek, I have had to invest in brand new kit from the boots up. I bought the boots early to make sure they were well and truly ‘worn-in’ and thank goodness I did! Due to the temperature range in Nepal, I have had to buy everything from thermals and woolly hats to sun cream and non-cotton t- shirts. I have tried to train is as much of my kit as possible, and have often been spotted trekking through Bridgend with my rucksack and walking poles.

If I won!

Wow, what can I say! There would probably be a little bit of screaming, considering the reaction when I found out I was a finalist. £5000 would mean a great deal to the charity and I think it would be with my husband, children and colleagues that I would celebrate. Perhaps a celebratory meal with bread, my how I miss bread, and lots of singing. I may even rope in the fabulous Tenovus Bridgend ‘Sing with Us’ Choir to join in the festivities.


A Message to Potential Trekkers Everywhere

Seize the day for that’s all we have! Do something that scares you just a little bit and you will learn a whole heap about yourself along the

 

The Challenge
An 11 day trip around the Annapurna region of the Himalayas of Nepal – home to some of the highest mountains in the world – it’s pure Himalayan magic, climbing to approximately 3200m
The Charity
I am the Cancer Support Services Manager for the Charity but three weeks after my appointment to the post, my husband was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. The diagnosis has changed our lives, and that of our two boys forever and we wouldn't have got through it all without the support of the charity, so it is time to give something back!
The Training
Living in the beautiful country of Wales has many advantages, not least of all the fantastic mountains. I make it a priority to walk at least 20 miles a week up in the hills and mountains with the dog for company! I have also employed a personal trainer who is pushing me to increase my fitness levels through two gruelling sessions each week, and I'm really heading towards my September goal at a breakneck speed!