After some comments made on my show the other night I have been contacted by a number of people offering help with my charity trip to Nepal next April. So I thought it would be a good idea to let you know what I am up to and why, plus how you can get involved. This is a long post so you may want to grab a cuppa before you begin.
What am I doing? Well I am asking myself that same question :) As someone permanently attached to my sewing machine, I have never been one for exercise or doing anything energetic. So what does a couch potato do for a challenge - why climb in the Himalayas of course! The challenge is on to trek to Poon Hill (3,210m) in the Annapurna region. The trek will take us through charming Nepalese villages where we will experience the culture of the mountain people of Nepal first hand. The challenge will be tough but the friendship and camaraderie along the way will be very special, and we are taking the challenge for very personal reasons. So why am I taking on the challenge of a lifetime?Well, the beneficiaries of my trip are two groups. Firstly I am trying to raise £3000 for Heartburn Cancer UK who I feel saved my Dad's life. To help with that I have a just giving page where you can donate directly.
You can find my fundraising page here. Every penny helps people in the UK suffering from this terrible disease. Last Summer, and just weeks after his 70th birthday doctors found a big ugly tumour growing inside my Dad. Since then he has undergone Chemo and radiotherapy and on the 25th February this year a full Oesophagectomy at Addenbrookes in Cambridge. He is one of the lucky ones – he is on the long road to recovery, and he is getting better every day. This cancer went off like a bomb in the centre of our family and we have met many brave and caring individuals – both medical personnel and fellow sufferers (some who are not going to make it or have already sadly left us).
Now Dad is coming out the other side I felt that I needed to do something to help those who are taking the same journey that we did, and to say thank you to those who helped us. So I have chosen a challenge that befits the challenges that my Dad has been through, and continues to go through. Nepal is a place that he has always wanted to visit – and now he can experience it through me.
I am funding the trip myself so every penny that you donate goes to a great cause helping those dealing with this terrible disease, and helping to prevent more people suffering.
So here is a picture I wasn't sure I would see again - Dad at 71!
But you can't travel half way round the world and not try to make a difference in the country you are visiting. As a quilter I am fascinated by other cultures sewing traditions and so I had to make a quick Google search of quilts in Nepal and came across an organisation that gives me goosebumps! Quilts for Kids is an organisation founded in 2006 to provide work for economically-challenged women and to finance education for underprivileged children in Kathmandu. It operates in an encampment of Indian street beggars located in a large field in the Boudhanath neighborhood of Kathmandu. The women of the encampment make quilts from fabric collected from humble sources, which they stitch together by hand to create works of art. The sale of a single quilt will send a child to school for a year. So of course I had to buy one! This is mine and I am so proud of it.
It is a large quilt, and the hand stitching is delicious. Here is a shot of the back and the lovely prairie points that decorate the edges.
This was a quote from their website that touched me deeply and made me feel that I had to help! "Ours is truly a global community - stitched together with threads of compassion, kindness and creativity." Who can argue with that!
So how can you help these fantastic women in Nepal. You can help the charity directly by purchasing a Quilt for $190 plus postage (and import duty) which will send a child to school for a year. On my part, I will be teaching these inspiring ladies a spot of English Paper Piecing once I have finished my climb, and I am taking sewing needles with me to give as a gift. I needed to choose something that wouldn't be too heavy (as we have to carry it up mountains!) and needles fitted the bill. So if you have packets of sewing needles lying around the house that you would like to rehome, then pop them in an envelope and I will take them with me to gift to these incredible women. Send me a message via my facebook page and I will send you my address to post them too. All I ask is that they aren't rusty!
So as you can see, this challenge is personally going to be a tough one. I have lost 2 1/2 stone already as I train and prepare for the adventure, but there is stil a long way to go. Whenever I have a wobble about "biting off more than I can chew" I think about these two great causes that I am proud to be able to help and it keeps me putting one step on front of the other. I cannot believe how lucky I am to live in a country where cancer services are available and have been able to save my Dad. I know many are not that fortunate and some will not survive, but we have to continue the fight. I am also delighted to be able to help those brave women in Kathmandu who have to battle to build a better life for their children. For us here where education is taken for granted, I am reminded what a privilege that has been, and how much I want to be able to pass that on gift.