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Nursery Manager Completes Seven-Day Trek to Kilimanjaro for Charity

September 19, 2023

Nursery Manager, Gemma from Bright Horizons St Mary’s Day Nursery and Preschool in Abingdon, has completed her seven-day trek climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and so far, raised £3,898 for the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children.

The challenge started on Sunday 27th August and was completed on Saturday 2nd September where Gemma climbed approximately 6,000 metres in total. Her journey began as part of a private trek, where on the Saturday afternoon she climbed from Londrossi Gate to Mti Mkumbwa Camp.

The next six days consisted of Gemma climbing to Shira Camp (11,500ft), Shira Hut (13,720ft), Lava Tower (15,700ft) and then down to Barranco Camp (13,500ft), and Karanga Camp (13,000ft).

She finally reached the summit of Kilimanjaro at 19,340ft on Friday 1st September before taking a 7 kilometre walk down to Mweka Camp, resulting in a day of an estimated 16 hours of hiking in total. Her mammoth climb up the highest mountain in Africa was completed on Saturday 2nd September where Gemma took on the 10km walk to Mweka Gate and then to Moshi at 5,300ft.

Completing her trek up Mount Kilimanjaro is just one of the impressive activities Gemma has taken part in. Also, this year she has taken part in the Three Peaks Challenge where she climbed Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike, and Mount Snowdon in July. Her efforts are all to continue fundraising for a charity close to her heart, The Bright Horizons Foundation for Children.

The Foundation helps to create Bright Spaces, which are safe, warm, and nurturing play areas, specially designed to bring joy and a sense of normality to children facing extremely difficult situations. They can be found in domestic abuse refuges, homeless shelters, prisons, and police stations throughout the UK.

Gemma wanted to take on these extreme challenges after having experienced a difficult past six years where she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Breast Cancer in 2016. After undergoing intense treatment for 12 months, she was finally given the all clear. She then received the news her dad had been diagnosed with a high-grade throat cancer in 2021 which had an impact on herself and her family. Thankfully, he is celebrating being in remission for two years. Then in March 2022 Gemma’s best friend, Andy, was killed in a tragic accident.

Gemma explains: “Taking on these challenges have been both extremely difficult and an exhilarating experience. It was so exciting to visit this beautiful country, but also to really challenge myself to reach the summit of the world’s highest freestanding mountain! I wanted to do something that would be a memorable experience and would raise as much money for a charity that I care a lot about.

“I feel immensely proud that I have been able to accomplish this but especially knowing that the money raised will be used to support vulnerable children and families and help to continue the vital work that the Foundation dedicate their time to. It was the hardest challenge I’ve ever done, but it was all worth it for an important cause.”

To donate to Gemma’s challenge, you can visit her Just Giving page.

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