Ipswich fundraiser heads off on high-altitude trek in Peru for St Elizabeth Hospice
PUBLISHED: 16:31 04 May 2018 | UPDATED: 17:12 04 May 2018
An Ipswich fundraiser has raised more than £5,000 for St Elizabeth Hospice ahead of a high-altitude trek through Peru.
Gemma Holland, 37, flew to South America today for the start of her five-day walking challenge.
After landing in Cusco she will spend a day acclimatising to the altitude before heading off towards the finishing line at Machu Picchu.
Although the trek is only 36 miles, the altitude, which in some parts of the route will reach almost 3,400 metres, will make breathing difficult as well as putting walkers at risk of altitude sickness.
She will be trekking for around nine hours a day over the five days - reaching the Incan citadel at Machu Picchu on Thursday, May 10.
“I used to work at the hospice years ago as a fundraiser and fell in love with the place and the amazing services they provide,” she said.
“I wanted to do all I can to raise money for them.
“Over the years I have volunteered at their Midnight Walk, taken part in a sky dive, Christmas day dip, a free fall abseil off the London Orbit and more.
“I wanted to raise a large amount and go all out so picked this challenge as it was way out of my comfort and fitness level.
“I had the goal of raising £10,000 in total.
“It was up to about £4,000 and with this new challenge will hopefully reach that final end target.
“I just wanted to do something really big for the charity.”
So far, Miss Holland has raised £5,476 from her Peru trek challenge.
She admitted she is not the most active person so the charity trek will be a real challenge for her physically.
“I have never done anything like this before,” she said.
“I have completed the Midnight Walk for St Elizabeth Hospice but that’s the longest I have every walked.
“I have had to do a lot of training for this trek.
“For me, this is a really big challenge.
“The trek is off the beaten track and is at a high altitude.
“It is not the distance, it is the altitude which makes it difficult.”
To find out more about her challenge and to donate to Gemma’s fundraising campaign visit giving.stelizabethhospice.org.uk/gemmas-machu-picchu/