At the respectable age of 48, Property Consultant from Cambridgeshire, John Bowles, longed for some adventure. There was no better way to satisfy his desire than to trek to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro with six friends, while at the same time raising money for three different charities.
The group of men began their seven day journey on 28 January 2011 and to date have raised over £13,500 for The Sick Children’s Trust, TearFund, and the Arthur Rank Hospice in Cambridge. At first, all the men wanted to climb the mountain for different reasons, many being age-related, but with time saw the fundraising potential for their trip.
“We planned the trip as one we would organise and pay for ourselves, but it soon became apparent that the support we were getting was too good an opportunity for us not to do some good by raising money for a few charities special to us,” John said. “I had no hesitation in suggesting The Sick Children’s Trust given the tremendous support they had given my family. It was simply a blessing to have had their help during this period, and we can’t thank them enough for making a horrendous experience just a little easier.”
The Sick Children’s Trust is a charity that provides free, high quality accommodation to families who have children being treated at hospitals. The charity’s Guilford House supported John and his wife Ali when their daughter Kitty spent 10 days in Cardiac Intensive Care Unity at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH). On Christmas day at five weeks old she suffered a severe case of neonatal myocarditis causing her heart to fail.
Arriving at GOSH on Christmas day 1999, with large parts of the hospital on shutdown in preparation for the ‘Millennium’, John and Ali spent the first three nights sleeping on the floor while Kitty’s condition remained critical. On the fourth day they found out about The Sick Children’s Trust which was able to accommodate the family, allowing them to be reunited with their two and a half daughter Hannah.
“It was because of The Sick Children’s Trust that we were able to spend the Millennium New Year’s Eve as a whole family. It meant the world to us to be together during the holiday. Two days later we received news of Kitty’s miraculous recovery. We were able to be at her bedside and welcome the good news as a family,” John added.
In order to give back to The Sick Children’s Trust, John and his friends, all between the ages 48-52, planned a seven day climb of Mount Kilimanjaro via the “Machame Route,” one of the six recognised routes to the summit. The men started their journey on 28 January 2012 and all seven reached the summit at sunrise on 2 February 2011.
Currently the group has raised over £14,300, allocating £2,400 of it for The Sick Children’s Trust. However, money is still being raised and John hopes to receive over £2,500 for the charity.
“It was truly memorable and rewarding to have reached the summit, as well as raised money for a charity that had such a significant impact on my life. My family and I will be forever grateful to The Sick Children’s Trust for what they did to save Kitty’s life. We’re so happy to help out the dedicated people who make these ‘Homes from Home’ possible.”
If you would like to make a donation, please visit John’s individual page at www.JustGiving.com/john-c-bowles or the team page athttp://www.justgiving.com/teams/climbing-kilimanjaro-2012.
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