Today’s the day – Africa here I come!

I haven’t slept a wink. My stomach is churning – could be the anti-malaria tablets – or maybe just the excited nervousness about what I’ll endure over the next 11 days.

Almost ten months to the day after signing up to trek Mount Kilimanjaro, today I fly out to Africa. Today is the day. OMG, I keep having to repeat it, it doesn’t feel real. Today is the day.

Preparing for the challenge

Yesterday was an emotional day. Cards came in the post and my phone buzzed with text messages offering good luck and well-wishes. I burst into tears when Rosie gave me a little card, and two charms – the first a St Christopher to keep me safe on my travels and the second a heart with the message ‘For whenever you need us’.

Rosie is somehow under the impression that she’s coming with me. I can’t recall how many times I’ve told her I’m off on my own to see if it’s suitable for the wizzybug, then I’ll report back with the promise that if it is, I’ll come back and get her!

The preparation to this point has been somewhat chaotic. Having never done anything like this before, I am pretty clueless as to whether the things I’ve bought will serve me well  – or that they even work.

I feel mentally prepared, yet so emotionally and physically unprepared. The magnitude of what lies ahead over the next few days still hasn’t sunk in. I won’t lie – I’m absolutely terrified.

Over £9,300 raised for Muscular Dystrophy UK

This is what makes it all worthwhile.

Words cannot express just how thankful I am for everyone’s generosity. Family, friends, colleagues, family friends, friends of friends and even strangers have been touched by our story and Rosie – enough to donate money to the charity helping to find a cure for Rosie’s condition – Muscular Dystrophy UK. THANK YOU so much for sponsoring me!

Virgin Money Giving

Check out the latest running sponsorship total on my Fundraising page.

As it stands right now I am delighted, blessed and truly blown-away that we have raised a whopping £9,313.27 – unbelievable! And it’s also HUGE thanks to all the lovely people who bought tickets to attend Rosie’s Charity Ball, bought raffle tickets or bid on our awesome prizes in our silent auction. BIG thanks to those who donated the awesome auction and raffle prizes too – you helped us raise £5,503 – over half this total sponsorship amount! Thank you so much!

I, of course, have to mention the two fantastic ladies – Grazyna and Katherine – who made Rosie’s Charity Ball possible. Thank you again for all your suggestions, time, support and help – you ladies rock!

Katherine Lisa Grazyna

My radio debut

On Saturday morning, I was listening to my favourite radio show, Magic FM. Paul Hayes was on and people were contacting the show saying what they were up to over the weekend.

Before I had time to think about what I was doing, I had the phone in my hand texting the show – I never do this – but something that day made me! I excitedly texted how I’d “Love a big shout out as I prepare for a big week ahead packing my bag ready to trek Mt Kilimanjaro and raise loads of money for charity“. I left it at that hoping to get a mention and went to brush my teeth.

Whilst I was brushing away, my phone started to ring – an 0844 number came up on the screen and I knew. I knew it was the radio show. I hurried to spit out the toothpaste and answered the phone. “Hi Lisa, It’s Paul from Magic” said the voice at the other end. I was honestly taken aback – this was amazing. I tried to keep my cool, but then nerves and excitement got the better of me – my speech quickened and once I got chatting I couldn’t shut up! Poor Paul hardly got a word in edgeways!

It’s cheesy cheesy – but I recorded it on my phone (with Rosie in the background!):

Things to help me on the trek + podcast!

Best friend

Last week my best friend Hannah whom I’ve known since I was three years old came to visit. She is always there for me no matter what and I am very lucky to have her in my life.

We did a practice trek, along with our lovely friend Gemma in torrential wind and rain (actually thought at one point we were going to get swept off the top – no joke!) and before she left, she presented me with three little envelopes.

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One to read before I start the trek. One to read whenever I need inspiration during the trek and one to read at the end. I can’t wait to read them. She is so thoughtful and I know her words will get me through this. Thank you Hannah!

Big thanks to Gemma too for the weekends of training in preparation for this moment in my life! You’re a great friend and I look forward to continuing out outdoor pursuits when I return!

Beth Kempton

The inspiring words of Beth Kempton are firmly pinned to the inside front cover of my journal.

Beth Kempton - wise words

It was reading Beth’s book Freedom Seeker that spurred me to attempt this crazy challenge. Beth is a high-spirited, risk-taking adventurer who encourages others to fulfil their potential by living more, worrying less and discover how to create the life you want to be happy and feel free.

Beth is brave and courageous and when I feel like I can’t go on – I’ll read these words and push on. One step in front of the other, no matter how slow, every step will be one step closer to that summit. Thanks Beth – I am sure these words will be totally ingrained in my mind by the end of the week!

I am also super excited that Beth interviewed me for her new podcast series – you can hear it here.

The journal front cover for more inspiration (and it’s waterproof!)!:

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Peacock feather

At Rosie’s charity ball, every guest was given a peacock feather. I explained to everyone how there are two very important things I’ve learnt over the last three years:

  1.  EVERYONE is battling something. Whether there’s something going on in your life or your child’s, or parents, or sister, or uncle or close friend, we all have our struggles and are doing our best to face, deal and get through them. The peacock feather is a gift from Rosie. It’s a reminder that during the tough times, don’t be afraid to show your true colours, be who you are, be brave and know you have within you the strength to get through it.
  2. It’s very hard to get through the tough times alone. The peacock feather reminds us of the power and beauty that can be achieved in numbers. I love this quote from the author and motivational speaker, Les Brown,

Ask for help, not because you are weak, but because you want to remain strong.

 So it only seemed right that I bring a peacock feather attached to my journal with me as a firm reminder.

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Laura – my angel

I read about Laura in the local paper earlier this year. She is from Clevedon too and was taking on Mt Kilimanjaro in February – she made it! You can read her account on her blog Life of sparkle

I knew I had to speak to her and randomly via a picture on her blog I noticed we had friends in common. I asked if they could introduce me to her and they hooked us up!

Before long we were drinking coffee and she was sharing her journey, hints and tips with me – she has been brilliant. Any question I’ve had she’s answered me straight away – she has been my angel in all of this.

Lisa and Laura - bag packing

On Monday night, she gave up her evening to help me pack – “you won’t need this” tossing it to one side, “take more of that” – it was a HUGE help and by 10pm my bag was just about packed. THANK YOU so much Laura for all of your help this year. Without your help, I’d be truly panicking right now! You’re AMAZING!

Better get ready!

So, at 2pm today  Royale Chauffeurs will be picking me up. The company I work for uses them for their executive travel and out of the kindness of their hearts they are going to collect me from my house and take me to Heathrow to start my adventure in style.

Getting to the airport was always a worry – I didn’t want to train, coach or bus it – not with all my bags, so I am incredibly grateful for all of their help and support. They too are truly AMAZING!

It’s going to be an another emotional day. I’ve still got lots of faffing and panicking to do. Saying goodbye to my little angel Rosie is going to be a tough one today. I don’t think I’ll be able to kiss her too many times and lord knows how I’ll cope when I have to finally let go of her hand and wave goodbye….I can’t bare the thought of it, let alone having to actually do it in t-minus three and a half hours.

Final word

Before I really do sign off and go and weigh my bags (again), I need to say a MEGA THANK YOU to my wonderful husband Iain who holds the fort at home with Rosie whilst I head off on this adventure. Thank you for enabling me to do this once in a lifetime trip, giving me this time away and access to what little savings we had. I love you very much and know I’ll be thinking of you and Rosie every step of the way x x x

Right…. really do have to get ready – see you on the other side!

Thank you again for ALL of your messages of support – they are really helping me get through this and I appreciate every single one of them!

L x


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