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Machu Picchu

26 Feb 2013

Trek to Machu Picchu - October 2012

Samantha Bell

8 years ago I was successfully treated for acute myeloid leukaemia in St Barts Hospital and since then, I had always known that I wanted to do some fundraising for the charity. Little did I know that I would end up embarking on an incredible trip of a lifetime across the Peruvian Andes, with family, friends and fellow fundraisers.

I trained hard all year, walking for miles around London and grabbing weekends in Scotland, the Pyranees, & the South Downs whenever possible. Kit was gathered, borrowed and hired. Trekkers were recruited. Fundraising seemed to take over my life as cocktail nights, summer fairs, raffles and bingos were organised.

I still felt nervous about the altitude as I had never spent any length of time above 3000m before and we would be trekking well above that most of the time. However, I needn’t have worried as I didn’t even suffer from a headache. Charity Challenge had planned everything to perfection, from itinerary to delicious meals and our local guides were fantastic.

We spent the majority of our time, after acclimatising in the wonderful old Inca capital Cusco, in the high Andes. Miles from anywhere, alone apart from the occasional local farmer or group of children, it really felt like we were on top of the world. The scenery was majestic and breathtaking. The days were long, often rising before dawn and reaching our next camp at sunset. But every second was really enjoyable, spirits were continuously high and we smiled, laughed, (and sometimes cried with emotion and joy) every day.

Our final day, and the culmination of the whole trip, was trekking the last section of the Inca Trail leading us into Machu Picchu, the lost city. It had been my dream to visit this mysterious place for over 20 years, and it didn’t disappoint. Catching the first glimpse of that magical view through the mist will remain one of the most exhilarating moments of my life. We felt triumphant, drained, euphoric and bowled over. What a journey the whole experience had been. Unforgettable and completely wonderful.

If you are thinking about an overseas challenge as a fundraiser for B+tlc, do not hesitate. You will have the absolute time of your life while raising much needed funds for this amazing hospital which saves so many lives of so many people.
People just like me.

If you would like to take part in a trek to Machu Picchu then please contact pat.gray@bartshealth.nhs.uk.