Bright Horizons Foundation for Children
Gemma's Kilimanjaro Climb for the Foundation
Fundraising for Bright Horizons Foundation for Children
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My name is Gemma and I am the Nursery Manager at Bright Horizons St Mary’s Day Nursery Abingdon, Oxfordshire. I joined the St Mary’s Team as Bank Staff in 2009 and quicky became part of the furniture. I worked hard and worked my way up the ranks finally earning a promotion to Nursery Manager in July 2019. I’ve always been a little bit of an adrenaline junkie and in the past have done numerous skydives, the London Marathon in 2018 and various other activities that make my mum greyer by the day!
The past 5/6 years have been really tough… In 2016 at just 32 I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Breast Cancer. I had only just been promoted to Deputy Manager a few weeks earlier and this news completely floored me. Luckily it was caught early and after a grueling 12 months of treatment I was given the all clear and I celebrate my 6th year in remission this year! 🙌🏻 In early 2021 my Dad was diagnosed with Throat Cancer! This hit my family hard and I found it so upsetting watching him go through treatment – knowing firsthand how horrendous it was. He is a fighter though and he now celebrates nearly 2 years in remission! 💙 ‘Then in March 2022 my best friend in the whole wide world, Andy, was killed. He was my ‘person’, and his death absolutely broke me!’ 💔
I spent months afterwards in a bit of a somber state thinking about everything… mainly ‘what have I done to deserve all of this!’ I finally concluded that life is way too short, tomorrow is never guaranteed and how important it is to live life to the absolute fullest - so I thought to myself ‘Stop moping & feeling sorry for yourself, get out into the world and start living!’
So with that said…
On 25th August 2023 I will be flying out to Tanzania, Africa to climb Mount Kilimanjaro! I am not only excited to visit this beautiful country but also to excited to really challenge myself with (attempting) to summit this 6000m beauty and the world’s highest freestanding mountain!
During the 8 day trek I will be hiking around 9-11km a day and will be due to summit on Saturday 2nd September! In order to prepare for this, I have set myself a 6-month training plan, as part of this plan I will be doing the National 3 Peaks Challenge on 17th June which involves climbing the three highest peaks of Scotland, England and Wales. This is by far the most challenging thing I’ve done to date but - Go hard or go home as they say!
How will this help?
I am doing this climb to push myself beyond my own limits. As it’s such a significant challenge I want my efforts to help to support a really good cause. The one I have chosen to back is The Bright Horizons Foundation for Children. This incredible Foundation is extremely close to my heart as it supports families by creating ‘Bright Spaces’.
Bright Spaces are warm, safe, enriching play environments located in homeless shelters, domestic violence refuges, hospitals, police stations and prison visits halls and help support vulnerable children affected by Domestic Violence, Parental Imprisonment, and Ill Health. Bright Spaces provide unique hubs for children to play, gather with families, and access the services they need.
The Foundation makes a difference through its 88 Bright Spaces throughout the UK & the impact this makes to families is incredible. They do however, as with any charity, rely on fundraising & donations to be able to deliver its Bright Space programs and support children and their families.
Please support my Fundraising Campaign; any donation, no matter how small, will be hugely appreciated and will make a such difference.