Kilimanjaro Trek in aid of Alzheimer's
In February 2016, I will be trekking to the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro in aid of Alzheimer Scotland.
This statement tends to lead to questions such as “What exactly is Alzheimer’s Disease?” and “What does trekking to the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro actually entail?”.
While medical research continues to explore and better understand the potential causes and cures of Alzheimer’s, and until I personally complete the challenge, I don’t think I can confidently answer either question in full.
Nonetheless, like the challenge itself, I’ll give it my best shot…..
What exactly is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s Disease it the most common form of Dementia, which is a set of symptoms that include memory loss and increased levels of difficulty with thinking, problem-solving or language.
Such symptoms occur when the brain is damaged, and connections are lost between nerve cells, subsequently leading to the death of such nerve cells and the loss of brain tissue. People with Alzheimer’s also have a shortage of important chemicals in their brain, which results in a loss of efficient transmission signals around the brain.
Dementia can affect every area of human thinking, feeling and behaviour, but each person with Dementia is different. How the illness affects someone will depend upon which area of their brain has been damaged.
As there is no current cure for Alzheimer’s, it is a progressive disease. This means that over time more parts of the brain are damaged and further symptoms develop. Therefore, it is vital that increased support and care is provided to those with Alzheimer’s Disease, as well as their carers and family.
Alzheimer Scotland – The Charity:
Alzheimer Scotland offers care, information and support to people with Dementia, and carers in Scotland. The charity is the leading Dementia organisation in Scotland, campaigning for the rights of people with Dementia and their families, as well as providing an extensive range of innovative and personalised support services.
Services include a 24-hour Freephone Dementia Helpline, Dementia Advisors, Nurses and medical research.
No one should have to go through Dementia alone, and I am raising funds and awareness to aid this cause.
For more information, please visit Alzheimer Scotland’s website by clicking here.
Why Mount Kilimanjaro?
Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the most impressive sights in Africa, and climbing Kilimanjaro is a truly great challenge. Rising majestically from the Savannah lands of northern Tanzania, Kilimanjaro soars to an impressive 5,895m high peak. It is the highest mountain in Africa and the largest free-standing mountain in the world.
The Machame route, which I will be trekking, approaches Kilimanjaro from the south, allowing gradual acclimatisation to the altitude, and takes me through dense tropical rainforest, moorland and scree until I reach Uhuru Peak, the highest point of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Here is my itinerary:
Day 1: Machame Gate to Machame Hut Camp – 3,100m. Trekking distance – approx. 18km / 5-7 hours
Day 2: Machame Hut Camp to Shira Camp – 3,840m. Trekking distance – approx. 9km / 4–6 hours
Day 3: Shira Camp to Barranco Camp – 3,900m. Trekking distance – approx. 15km / 6–7 hours
Day 4: Barranco Camp to Karanga Valley Camp – 4,100m. Trekking distance – approx. 6km / 3–4 hours
Day 5: Karanga Valley Camp to Barafu Hut Camp – 4,600m. Trekking distance – approx. 11km / 4 – 6 hours
Day 6: Barafu Hut Camp to Uhuru Peak – 5,896m. Then descend to Mweka.
Trekking distance – approx 6 km / 6-7 hours to Uhuru Peak
Trekking distance – approx 16km / 6-8 hours to Mweka Camp
Day 7 – Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate. Trekking distance – approx. 12km / 4-5 hours.
If you would like to support my charity efforts for Alzheimer’s, please donate by clicking on the below link. Every donation helps us reach our target of £7,300, and would be greatly appreciated.
While I have completed various runs (10km, Half Marathon etc.), I have never tested myself physically or mentally to a challenge such as Kilimanjaro. In order to raise funds and awareness for a charity which is caring and researching for a cause which has affected my own family, I felt the urge to test myself and push the boundaries.
I look forward to the training, preparation and challenge itself….but for now, the fundraising is paramount.