This is right up my alley.
|Reaching the summit of Mount Tongariro.|
|Emerald Lakes at the Summit of Mount Tongariro.|
Did I fail to mention that I don't really "like" climbing mountains? I'd really much rather do yoga thank you very much.
I started to read about Kilimanjaro but the more I read, the more freaked out I got. So I started to devise a plan.
I strongly believe that when things present themselves like this, you are meant to do them. Feel the fear and do it anyway. That is my motto.
I began talking to people and telling them what I was intending to do. I got a variety of reactions - everything from instant excitement and encouragement to terror and worry for my well being. Some thought I was crazy but most think this is a very Tracy Pepper thing to do. I will do it.
My favourite reaction was from a client of mine who's first response was, "Wow, you are going to have a great ass!"
I'm a problem solver. The first thing I do when I have a project to tackle is to write a list of what I need to do to achieve my goal. Then I brainstorm ideas. My mind ticks over and I come up with a zillion ideas.
In order to join the Expedition of Hope I will need to raise at least $2,500 for Ovarian Cancer Canada. Then there is the cost of flights and of the 6 day trek which will be approximately $8,000CAD. Add on top of that the cost of my flights to Canada so I can fly with the group (and visit my family). I need to raise at least $11,000CAD. That isn't including the costs of equipment or of lost earnings from time off work.
I will have to do some fundraising.
Then I came up with an idea. Why not do a documentary about this journey? It is a journey of hope. The world needs more hope.
I contacted my friend Nicola Reilly who owns Foreverfit - an online gym that promotes the idea of healthy living through simple, basic eating plans and exercise routines that you can do just about anywhere. Nicola and I filmed a series of yoga videos together last year. She'd be the perfect person to help whip me into shape and film the process. Lucky for me, she was keen to jump on board.
But there is still a lot more that needs to be done. So I contacted my good friend from childhood, another Valley Girl, Michelle Murray who is a media mogul. She ran the marketing campaign for Keep A Breast for a number of years plus she helped to organize the Pemberton Music Festival in British Columbia. She is multi-talented. She's a blogger and and amazing chef and person in her own right. I wondered whether she might be able to squeeze in some time to help out an old friend. She was honoured I asked.
I've been in touch with the Gynecological Cancer Foundation here in New Zealand to see if they might help. They were keen to get involved.
I will get in touch with CanTeen New Zealand and Camp Oochigeas as well.
I have dozens of friends who want to help. I am going to need lots of it, even if it's just in the form of support and trekking buddies. My friend Jo is going to do some of the tough workouts with me (we did boot camp together in 2010). I am going to meet with an Exercise Physiologist to make sure my heart is going to withstand the endurance and the altitude.
Altitude is my biggest worry. People die from altitude sickness. Some people don't get to finish Kilimanjaro due to altitude issues. I don't want to get that far and have to turn back. I want to be prepared.
|Swiss Alps with Mont Blanc in the background|
So now that my team is coming together, it's time to make the commitment and to fully announce that I will be joining Ovarian Cancer Canada on their Expedition of Hope to Mount Kilimanjaro
The expedition will be lead by a man by the name of Macon Dunnagan. He is an American who lost his Canadian wife to ovarian cancer in 2007. Macon summits Kilimanjaro every September in her honour. This will be his 30th climb. You can watch his video invitation to join him in September 2013 by clicking here.
I'd like to raise enough money so that I can attend the Love Her events happening around Canada. An evening of fashion, comedy, cocktails, auction and music. The first one is on February 28th in Toronto. I'll need to raise about $5000 to attend each event. There are three of them. It's a long shot, but if I don't try then I'll never know. That would give me a chance to go into Head Office and meet the team who are making this possible.
My goal is to raise as much money as possible to support the charities that do so much to look after the ones who need them most. The greatest portion will go to Ovarian Cancer Canada for putting together the expedition in the first place. I would also like to donate proceeds to the charities that are very near and dear to my own heart and soul.
Climbing Kilimanjaro is the perfect ending to my story. It's the ultimate metaphor for someone who has been told they have cancer. It's that massive mountain that you've been told you are going to have to climb. It seems impossible. It's terrifying. It's going to require a lot of hard work. You will need a team of people to support you on the journey. But in the end, you know that you will climb it. All you can do is take it one step at a time. There's no point worrying about altitude sickness or whether you can make it to the top. You will just do the best you can. You won't let Kilimanjaro get in the way of whatever is beyond it. This journey is going to test your will and your determination. You will have moments you don't think you can take another step. It's amazing what you can achieve when you put your mind to it.
|Tongariro Alpine Crossing|
So the journey begins. I hope you're watching. This is going to be a very interesting year.