Cure Leukaemia is all set to support its first ever fundraising challenge to conquer Everest thanks to the intrepid duo of Steve Hardwidge and Gary Burton.
The trek to base camp will be to show support for Steve’s sister Julie Cannell, from Burton, who has been battling leukaemia for the last three years.
Steve, an Application Sales Engineer from Blithbury, and Gary, from Chase Terrace, who services and maintains American RV’s and camper vans, have already tackled various other expeditions for charity.
But this is the big one, and they are Cure Leukaemia’s first ever fundraisers to take on base camp of the world’s highest peak.
“We have done several treks previously for cancer charities as we lost a best friend to cancer and then also my wife’s Dad,” says Steve.
“And now there is Julie, who is undergoing treatment for leukaemia at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.
“I can still remember hearing the news when Julie was diagnosed, and since then I have seen my sister reduced to a shell, lose her hair and a lot of her modesty whilst having her various treatments.
“She is still fighting with the help of the amazing medical team at the Centre for Clinical Haematology, in what has been a long and tough process.
“She has received a stem cell transplant and is in the stage of graft-versus-host at the moment, and this is the road that we as a family are still on with Julie.
“Without Cure Leukaemia, a lot of what is known and has been learned about this horrible disease would not have been discovered and many of today’s survivors would not have been so lucky.”
Steve and Gary, who have a link through both being karate enthusiasts, have previously carried out a parachute jump and then climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.
“I still haven’t forgiven him for that,” says Gary.
“In the years since then, constantly re-living that amazing trek through the rain and the snow, I recall saying to Steve, ‘never again, unless it's somewhere warm’.
“Well here we are with me being talked into having another charity ‘walk’, but this time it's Everest Base Camp!
“Steve chose to ignore my earlier request for somewhere warm, and why we are putting our ageing bodies through this again beggars belief.
“But we are hoping that we can make it worthwhile by raising some money for charity again.
“Steve's lovely sister Julie, a very strong, very brave lady is currently dealing with leukaemia, and so we would like to raise as much as we can for Cure Leukaemia and dedicate the trek to anyone who has been affected by this nasty disease.
“Please give what you can afford, however small or large and think of the two old farts freezing their socks off at 17,600 feet in the Himalayas!”
Although the trek is not until March of 2020, training is starting immediately with plenty of work to be done for such a gruelling challenge.
“It will be different to Kilimanjaro as it is a longer climb and so the ascent is not as steep,” adds Steve.
“Having said that it will be very tough, and I can also say I’m not looking forward to landing in the world’s worst airport – I’ve seen some pretty horrific videos of that!
“But we’ve got a lot of time to prepare and get training again and used to carrying all the kit.
“I am sure it is going to be a fantastic experience, along with being able to show support and raise money for such an important charity.”
Cure Leukaemia Chief Executive James McLaughlin said:
“We have had supporters row the Atlantic, cycle enormous distances and walk the length of the UK but we have never had fundraisers willing to take on the world’s highest mountain before. It is not just the challenge itself but also the gruelling training for over 12 months that makes Steve and Gary’s challenge so impressive.
"I know that their personal reasons for raising funds for Cure Leukaemia will drive them on and every penny they raise will go directly into supporting leukaemia patients like Julie.
“On behalf of everyone associated with the charity I would like to thank Steve and Gary and wish them every success with their training in 2019.”
Click HERE to donate to support Steve and Gary on their trek. The duo are funding the costs of the challenge themselves so every penny donated will go directly to Cure Leukaemia.
Inspired by Steve and Gary’s challenge?
New for 2020, Cure Leukaemia have places available for a fantastic Great Wall of China Trek which will take place from the 1st – 9th May 2020.
If you are interested in finding out more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How funds raised for Cure Leukaemia help save lives