Our trekkers have returned home after their hike across Mont Blanc 6th-10th September. The group have raised £24,000 (and rising) through their fundraising and sponsorships.
The trek involved travelling through France, Switzerland and Italy over three days. It was a challenging trek with steep inclines, rocky paths and sandy terrain. When asked if it was cold up in the mountains, our Herts Fundraising Manager Natasha laughed and said: ‘No! We got sun burnt!’
We caught up with Andy, one of our trekkers, to ask him about the trip. Andy took on the challenge to thank Essex & Herts Air Ambulance for helping him after his motorcycle accident in June 2015. For Andy, the Air Ambulance really was the difference between life and death.
He suffered a broken right femur, shattered right elbow, broken right forearm, six broken ribs, fractures to multiple vertebrae, punctured right lung, lacerations to kidneys, pancreas and liver, contusion to the spleen and a type A aortic dissection (the main artery that supplies the vital organs). Because of this, he then sustained a right MCA infarct and a right ACA infarct – which is effectively two strokes. Andy was left unable to functionally use his left hand and with left side weakness that affects his walking which is now slow and so relies on an ankle foot ortosis to be able to walk.
Did you have a training plan to prepare you?
I received the training plan from Global Adventure Challenges, and followed the advice slowly increasing the amount of time spent walking until I was comfortably able to walk for up to four hours at a time. I also adapted my training in the gym, using the cross-trainer for an hour before core strength training with weights.
What did you do to raise the fundraising target?
I set up a JustGiving page and shared it on Facebook as well as with Northampton University web page, where I am currently studying. My story was also featured in my local newspaper, with a link to my JustGiving page.
How did you find the trek? Did you face any big challenges?
The trek itself was an amazing experience but also very challenging. I don’t think that any amount of hill walking could prepare you for the unique terrain and sheer incline of Mont Blanc.
At the first incline, I thought to myself “There is no way that I’m going to be able to do this!” However as I persevered I found those negative thoughts dissipate.”
It’s not just a physical challenge, it’s also a mental challenge to get you in the right mindset to be able to push on. Some of the trekkers were even able to overcome their fear of heights with the help of the support trekkers.
What are you taking away from the experience?
It was an experience like no other with memories that will last forever. Trying to describe the experience and the beautiful scenery just doesn’t do it justice, it is something that just must be experienced.
Would you recommend the trek to another?
I would recommend the trek to others. It’s a unique experience where you get to meet a fantastic group of like-minded people who are all there with the same purpose. Working as a group you spur each other on and help others to complete the challenge.
Would you like to add anything else?
I would just like to say a massive thank you to Stuart of Global who led the trek and Stephan and Baptiste who were the local support. I really would not have been able to complete this without them. Do not think of the trek as a solo thing, it’s all about team work to help push yourself and others on.
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