A team of 34 took on one of the top ten trekking trails in the world to raise money for local children and their families who know they don’t have long together. After seven days in Peru and 52km of tough trails, Chestnut’s Inca Trail trekkers, including charity Patron Jodie Kidd, are on track to raise over £140,000 for Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice.
Reaching altitudes of up to 4,200m, the team members stepped out of their comfort zones, traversed peaks and valleys and explored fascinating ruins to conquer the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. They hiked through sub-tropical vegetation, cloud forest and archaeological sites, encouraging each other along the way.
Amongst the group was Zoe Gilbert, who took on the challenge in memory of her son Connor who was one of the first children to use the children’s hospice. The family’s journey began after they noticed that Connor wasn’t meeting his expected milestones. After extensive investigations and hospital visits the family still had no diagnosis and, at the age of six, Connor began having seizures.
The family were then introduced to Chestnut Tree House, and, during this time Connor amazed everyone by improving, and eventually came off the ventilator and even started going to school. Connor did well for a year but unfortunately fell ill and sadly passed away in 2006.
“Chestnut enabled me to feel like a mum, rather than just a carer; allowing me to enjoy time with Connor and laugh and smile,” said Zoe. “I’ve always wanted to do the Inca Trail and 2019 seemed the perfect time to do it. It would have been Connor’s 21st birthday this year, so it felt special to do something this big and be raising money for Chestnut Tree House at the same time.
“It was an incredible journey and I even conquered my fear of flying and heights along the way! I am so glad to be part of such an amazing team, and what a way to have celebrated Connor’s 21st birthday. There was something very spiritual about the whole experience.”
Along the way, the trekkers created their own special memories, with the firm favourite being the life-changing moment they experienced when they stood with the lost city in their sights.
Jodie Kidd, Patron of Chestnut Tree House, said: “My favourite part of the challenge was getting to the Sun Gate and then suddenly looking down at Machu Pichu and walking around… it was just incredible.
“It was a tough challenge, especially due to the altitude, but we were all doing it for the same reason – to support local children and families by trying to raise as much as possible for this fantastic cause.”
Ambrose Harcourt, Vice President of Chestnut Tree House, and Lukas Wojcik, Ambassador, also joined the group taking on the challenge.
If you’re a thrill seeker looking for your next life-changing moment, there are still a few places left on Chestnut’s Inca Trail Challenge 2020 (2-11 October). Find out more about how you can witness one of the new seven wonders of the world whilst supporting local children here: www.chestnut-tree-house.org.
For your next life-changing moment. For experiencing something new. For local children and their families. For the Now.