More than 40 Lancaster hospice supporters are all set for the trip of a lifetime.
On Tuesday March 6, the team of 46 women and men will depart from St John’s Hospice ready to conquer Machu Picchu in Peru.
The trekkers have been fundraising for 18 months and have raised more than £200,000 so far.
Fundraising events have been many and varied from collection boxes and buckets to charity balls, sky dives and music nights.
It is the largest fundraising project the hospice has embarked upon after its maiden trek to China in 2016 raised more than £140,000.
Catherine Butterworth, head of income generation at St John’s, is joining the team on the trek.
“We are all so excited that the big day is finally approaching,” she said.
“In the last 18 months the entire trek team have been relentless in their fundraising and also to their commitment to train, often spending countless hours in the wind, rain and snow to ensure they are ready for this challenge. When we leave the hospice they should all be extremely proud of what they have achieved which will allow St John’s to continue to care for its community.”
The trekkers are all taking part for different reasons; some want to take on the challenge and some have always wanted to go to Machu Picchu, but many are walking in memory of loved ones lost at the hospice.
Nicola Shaw from Heysham really wants to give something back to St John’s.
“My wonderful dad spent his final few days at the hospice,” she said. “ The care he received during that time was second to none and the support given to the family was invaluable.
“Since then I have wanted to give something back and help the hospice to continue their wonderful care for others. I can’t believe it is finally here and I can’t wait to push myself out of my comfort zone and achieve something amazing by reaching Machu Picchu.”
The trek itself will be tough as much of the walking is uneven, steep and nearly all at a high altitude, which can be difficult for people to adjust to.
Lancaster Guardian content editor Debbie Butler, who is a member of the Peru trek team, said: “I’m sure this will turn out to be the experience of a lifetime.
“The trek will come with its challenges but in my mind during the difficult moments will be all those people who use and need the hospice every day.
“What better inspiration could anybody ask for.”
The 10 day trip follows the Lares trail and will reach heights of up to 4,600m, that is three-and-a-half times the height of Ben Nevis, and half the height of Everest! They will finish the epic journey at Machu Picchu, a 15th century Inca citadel situated on a mountain ridge, rediscovered by American explorer, Hiram Bingham, in 1911.
Keep an eye on St John’s Hospice web and social media channels for regular updates on the team’s progress from March 6. You can also make a donation to their incredible efforts at www.sjhospice.org.uk/trek.