Kim Blake says taking part in a fundraising trek in Nepal for 10 days was one of the “hardest things” she has ever done.
But, inspired by her daughter, 26-year-old cancer survivor Elizabeth, she was determined to complete her charity challenge.
Kim decided to sign up for the feat – raising money for the Eve Appeal and the Teenage Cancer Trust – after Elizabeth was diagnosed with cervical cancer at the age of just 23, nearly three years ago.
Following surgery to remove her cervix and lymphnodes, Elizabeth has made a recovery and has been doing well.
But Kim is aware it could have been a different story.
She said: “Elizabeth, because she was under 25 at the time, wasn’t at the age for screening tests, and it got picked up by a nurse. It was only really from the nurse asking the right question, it was picked up early enough. She’s doing well now.
“Not only did I set out to raise money with the trek, I wanted to raise awareness too.
“To tell young women, especially if they are under age to be called for screening, they should see their doctor if they notice anything unusual. And if they don’t feel happy, to seek a second opinion.”
Kim, who lives in Carleton and runs a hairdressing salon, took part in the challenge – which saw her climb 12,000ft and raise £1,200 – with her two sisters.
She said: “It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. We climbed up to the Annapuna Base Camp. I think if I had realised exactly what would be involved, I might not have signed up for it!
“We were rock climbing, walking, it was very challenging terrain.
“Thinking of my daughter and what she went through kept me going. I kept thinking she and the people the charities help had harder days than what I was doing.
“And I thought about the support I had from everyone in the community, how generous people have been – especially the clients at my salon, and that made me feel emotional and made me keep going.
“I also held a charity day at my salon. We closed the shop for a day and had a raffle, tombola, cakes, mulled wine. It was fantastic and we raised £1,000 in just one day.
“My clients really are so supportive and generous.”
Kim has now been inspired and motivated to stay active and plans to get fit.
“After the trek I was feeling a bit fitter, so I joined the sports centre. I’ve also been doing the coach potato to 5k running programme, to help me with getting fitter.”