IN just over three months, a team of 39 intrepid trekkers will leave for Peru to raise funds for patient care at St Barnabas House hospice.
On Saturday, May 19, the awe-inspiring challenge will see the team, whose members range in age from 21 to 71, tackling a spectacular four-day trek through the Andes mountains on their way to the iconic and ancient Incan ruins of Machu Picchu.
Many of the trekkers will be walking in memory of loved ones who were supported and cared for by the hospice.
For others, it is the chance to achieve a personal goal.
The group has been working hard to raise money, and have already raised a staggering £56,000 – enough to pay for a whole month of care in four patient rooms, which constitutes an entire wing on the in-patient unit at St Barnabas House, in Titnore Lane, Worthing.
Community fund-raising manager, Sloane Vaughan, who will travel to Peru with the trekkers, said: “What the team have achieved so far is just incredible.
“They have worked so hard and the local community have been so generous in their support of the fund-raising. We cannot say thank you enough.
“We still have lots of events planned during the countdown to the Inca Challenge to help our trekkers meet their fund-raising targets, so I hope everyone will continue to get behind the team and show their support.”
Trekker Gill Bull has come up with a novel way of raising extra funds for St Barnabas – she has been selling advertising space on her trekking t-shirt.
Gill has persuaded firms Gardner & Scardifield, based in Lancing, and Strings and Things, in Shoreham, to make a donation in return for displaying their names on special t-shirts she has been wearing during her fund-raising and during training.
Isle of Wight company, Datawarm, is also supporting Gill on the trek.
In Peru, on reaching the Sun Gate – the ancient gateway to Machu Picchu – Gill will don the t-shirt for a special photo, which the firms will then display on their websites.
Gill is also part of a group on the Peru trip affectionately known as The Chincas – six people who are taking on their second overseas challenge for St Barnabas House.
Gina Drake, Steve Funnell, Pat Blackman, Sloane Vaughan and Paul Searle, along with Gill, were all part of the team that travelled to China, in 2010, to walk the Great Wall, raising money for the hospice’s Building a Dream appeal to build the brand new St Barnabas House.
The group had such a good experience in China, they decided to sign up for the 2012 Inca challenge.
Paul Searle said: “The China trip to Walk the Great Wall changed my life for the better and made me lots of good friends.
“Add to this the fun and good feeling you get from fund-raising for such a great cause and it’s no wonder I signed up for the Inca Trek. I want to give a bit back to St Barnabas and this is a great way of doing so. Already I have met and made friends with the Inca team, and it promises to be a truly inspiring trip.”
As well as attending the fund-raising events, donations can be made securely online by logging on to the website www.justgiving.com/st-barnabas-inca-trail-2012