Trekkers venture to Cambodia to support Lancaster hospice

St John's Hospice has launched another of its famous treks to raise much-needed funds for patients and families.

Friday, 25th June 2021, 2:30 pm
The Peru trekkers arrive at Machu Picchu in 2018. Debbie is front row, fourth from right.
The Peru trekkers arrive at Machu Picchu in 2018. Debbie is front row, fourth from right.

This time the destination is captivating Cambodia, and the date is November 2022. This is the fifth trek to raise funds for St John's.

Cambodia is known for its rich history, the kindness of its people, stunning landscapes and the breath-taking wonder of the world that is Angkor Wat, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

St John's is calling for people to take part in a genuinely unforgettable experience that will see participants take on a 9-day challenge crossing hills, valleys, forests, fields, rivers and historical sites to finish this epic journey at Angkor Wat.

Cambodia and Angkor Wat. Photo: Cambodia and Trek images

So, why would people take on such a challenge? Catherine Butterworth, director of income generation, said: "Supporters take part for a variety of reasons. It may be because a member of their family or a friend has experienced the care and compassion of St John's in the hospice or via the Hospice at Home and clinical nurse specialists who provide palliative care in patients' own homes.

"Sometimes it is because people know that St John's is a local charity and want to support a charity that works locally so they know where their funds are spent.

"This year we know that for some people who have signed up it is the chance to have a truly amazing experience that raises funds for a charity that has carried on working delivering frontline care throughout the pandemic.

"We also have staff who want to take part because they have witnessed St John's care first-hand and know that in the year of our 35th birthday it is vital St John's that is there for the next 35 years and beyond."

The Cambodia trek will raise money for St John's Hospice. Photo: Cambodia and Trek images

Morecambe Visitor and Lancaster Guardian Editor Debbie Butler took part in the hospice's 2018 trek to Machu Picchu.

Debbie said: "The trek was one of the best experiences of my life and I would recommend anyone to take part in one of these life-changing challenges.

"Peru was a real adventure, from hiking at high altitude, in rain and shine through amazing scenery, to enjoying the camaraderie of camping at night and experiencing a whole new culture, before the breathtaking sight of Machu Picchu itself at the end of the trek - not forgetting a great night out to celebrate the achievement with a brilliant group of people.

"Taking part in these trips is a fantastic experience and you will create some great memories and forge lifelong friendships - knowing you have helped contribute to keeping the vital work of the hospice going.

"I had never taken on anything like this before, but it released a spirit of adventure in me so much that the following year I trekked across the Sahara Desert and before the pandemic struck had been planning a trip to kayak through the Norwegian fjords.

"If you have never done anything like this before it will take you out of your 'comfort zone' - but you might just surprise yourself with how adventurous you actually are.

"And don't be put off by the idea of having to fundraise. The hospice staff will give you all the support you need.

"I had never done anything like that before, but you will be amazed by the generosity of family, friends and total strangers.

"Myself and my mum raised money with collections at local supermarkets and so many people are happy to contribute to such a worthwhile cause you will be surprised how easy it is to reach your target.

"I would tell anyone considering taking this on to just go for it. You won't regret it..."

What's involved? Is a trek a possibility for someone who has never fundraised and quite frankly isn't as fit as they could be after 15 months of lockdown living?

Lisa Morgan, fundraising manager, said: "Raising funds to take part in this trek and getting fit doesn't need to be daunting. Because St John's is a small and local charity, we like to devote the time to looking after you as you get ready.

"We have a team of people here who can give advice and support to you with your fundraising, so you won't be alone. And we are launching the trek now so that participants have plenty of time to raise the money and work on their fitness level if they need to.

"The very act of committing to a trek and knowing that you will be doing something that you will look back on with pride because you "did it" is very motivating.

"Knowing that by "doing it" you raised money for your local hospice to ensure that their inpatient ward, clinical nurse specialists, night sitters and family support team can keep being there for people, can be the encouragement that keep trekkers on track."

To find out more, read about the last trek and sign up for the 2022 Cambodia Trek just go online here.