We are so proud to share that our very own Unite Professionals’ case manager, Julie Jay, made it to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in a group effort to raise over £60,000 in aid of the Charity Group Compassion.
Compassion is a global child sponsorship scheme that enables sponsored children to receive access to education, medical and nutritional support, and nurturing in a church community, whilst having a personal relationship with their sponsor through supported correspondence.
In March 2020, Julie and a group of 30 fundraisers got to visit one of the Compassion’s projects in Tanzania, and meet the children they have been raising money for. The money they raised has gone towards building houses, for 34 families in Rwanda. In addition the fundraisers facilitated sponsorship for an additional 103 children who will now receive this sponsorship until they reach adulthood. 103 lives changed!
The timing of their travels was fortunate, as they returned just ten days before the borders closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however it was also a bit treacherous as they encountered a freak blizzard and gale force winds at the top of the mountain!
“It was the best experience of my entire life but also the hardest thing I have ever done,” said Julie. “Meeting the children and the families was such an emotional and rewarding experience, it made the challenge of the climb worth it.
“After meeting the families, we set off for the climb. We climbed the seven-day Rongai route, four days going up and two and a half days coming back down. We experienced five different vegetation zones, whilst trekking over 5,500 meters above sea level and were above the cloud line. It went from lush rainforest to sparse and rocky, like walking on the moon.
“The summit was intense. They wake you up at 11 at night in order to set out for the summit at midnight, it takes 6 hours to get to Gilman’s Point and then eventually Uhuru Peak during which we experienced a freak blizzard, gale force winds and needless to say it was a very, very scary experience. 21 out of 30 of us reached the peak, which was pretty impressive considering the conditions. We stayed up at the point for just seven minutes and did not witness the ‘stereotypical’ beautiful sunrise view because of the weather!
“Coming down was probably harder than going up. You’re so tired and you don’t want to eat because of the altitude sickness. We were all so grateful that we were led by the most magnificent team of over 100 porters who carried our bags and helped get us up and down that mountain.
Julie started training for this challenge in October 2019 which included going on long walks and strength training.
She has sponsored two children through Compassion UK for the last two years and has been impressed at the charity’s commitment and focus to ensuring a personal relationship with the child through regular letter writing and correspondence.
Well done, Julie, you’re an inspiration!
You can support Julie’s fundraising efforts by making a donation online.