Walking has always been a huge pleasure of mine and something that I take for granted every day. The idea of not being able to go for a stroll or a hike whenever I want to is devastating, but that's a reality that many young people in their 20s and 30s face when cancer becomes part of their life.
More than 12,500 young adults are diagnosed with cancer in the UK each year, and the physical and mental trials the disease puts them through can slow them down. Trekstock - the charity we will be fundraising for through this Whistles x Twin six-day trek, 4,167m up into the Atlas Mountains in Morocco - aims to get them moving through a mix of practical and social programmes that aim to support them through and beyond their experiences with cancer.
On a personal note, much of my love of walking came from my grandmother Bett who would drag me, moaning, on many a walk, both for pleasure or for function. If she thought her legs could carry her, she'd walk - no matter the distance - and would scoff at my requests to take a bus. I moan less now when walking, but the Morrocco trek hasn't started yet...
Perhaps because of this attitude, Bett remained active well into her 80s. I've never known a busier woman or a more hectic social calendar. Until very recently, she could be found cycling through streets of her adopted home, New Zealand (a move she made across the world from Scotland in her 70s), and was rarely to be found sitting still, even when at home.
This summer past, she had a lung cancer diagnosis that has stopped her in her tracks. She is so breathless because of this that she can no longer walk across a room without a break, never mind a mountain range. Needless to say, she is enormously frustrated by this and it's hard for our family, who are so used to her whipping us into shape and encouraging (perhaps too polite a word) us to be less sedentary, to watch it.
She can't trek up into the Atlas Mountains, and neither can thousands of young people suffering from cancer. But I can (I hope), so I will and I hope you'll support me in this venture.
Please do give what you can, big or small. It will all help, and give Trekstock the financial support it needs to improve lives. Thank you!
About Trekstock: Trekstock, provides wide ranging support to young adults facing all types of cancer around the UK. 34 young adults in their 20s and 30s are diagnosed with cancer every day in the UK. Trekstock delivers practical and social support programmes tailored to their needs, to give them a better chance of living well through and beyond cancer. Through exercise support, practical advice and an active online and offline community, our programmes tackle social isolation, improve quality of life and provide young adults with the tools they need to get moving again after cancer puts their life on hold. For more information see www.trekstock.com