Dream Challenges

Dream Challenges
Life Changing Events

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Taking on the Great Wall of China

Yesterday Dream Challenges flew a group from London to Beijing to take on the mind blowing task of trekking five days along the incredible Great Wall of China. They start at a section of the wall which was built in AD557 making their way past hidden villages, gaining height for the last day to reach the highest watch tower in Mutianyu. The sights they will see are mind blowing, however, the walk is a real challenge and not an easy task.

As they take on step after step we know that our participants will have one main motivation in mind. That is knowing that all of the training before and all the hard work during is worth it to support the cancer charity of their choice. The trek overall will raise thousands and thousands of pounds for different cancer charities.

This week we hear from The Maggies a group of eighteen strangers who have come together to take on the trek to support Maggies Centre in Nottingham. The centre helped each individual with their battle against cancer.  Here are three of the trekkers stories and a great video of their training experience.

Lisa Reynolds, 44

My main motivation for trekking in China is that I suffered from breast cancer just less than 
three years ago.  I coped really well at the time but two years later sunk into a bit of a depression and had a bit of post-traumatic stress about the whole thing. I did npt know where to go or what to do so I popped into Maggie’s after a mammogram to see what they were all about and they completely changed my whole life.

They helped me with two particular courses, Living with Less Stress and Mindfulness. They set me on the right track mentally.  Mindfulness is all about being in the present moment and being able to realise that negative thoughts are not real things and they can be very damaging. Mindfulness helps to reprogram your brain and concentrate on your body, yourself – it’s almost like having your senses turned up high and living your life as it is happening rather than worrying about what might happen.  

What better way to thank them than raising lots of money and trekking through China. It’s also been spurred on by my Gran, who sadly died last year. She was a pioneer, always raising money and doing charity treks so this seemed to be an apt thing for me to do and carry on her legacy.

I have always wanted to go to China. I am looking forward to seeing a whole different culture and visiting the Forbidden City.

Training has been good. It’s taken me a while to get over the chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Fatigue was quite an issue and I am only just getting back to normal so it’s the right time for a physical challenge. I am at a crossroads and am ready to leave it all behind and move forward.

Deb Mason, 49

I am turning 50 at the end of this year so I decided I wanted to celebrate by doing something different. I found out about the trek and thought it sounded like a good idea – I’d get my fitness levels up, meet some interesting people and hopefully raise a lot of money for Maggie’s, my chosen charity. I sit on the fundraising board, so we’re always looking for ways of raising money.

I started my training in January and have loved every minute of it. The Three Peaks weekend was amazing and blew me away and it’s made me more excited about the trek in September. It was really hard and I absolutely loved it. Keeping up motivation has also been tough through the winter. In the cold, snow, wind and rain it was horrible getting up and going for walks but the feeling of exhilaration afterwards was amazing.

I’m looking forward to the views at the Great Wall and meeting new friends. I also want to go to a temple as I really enjoy meditation. It’s going to be a big challenge but raising money for Maggie’s makes it all worthwhile.

Kirsten Bolton, 45

The things you get yourself into when you’ve had a drink…. My friend Laura is Maggie’s fundraising manager and she talks so passionately about the centre that I went to see for myself what is was all about. I was blown away, it’s such a beautiful, warm and caring environment to be in, the staff were lovely and people seemed so happy, despite the anxiety of having or caring for someone with cancer. That night I was round at Laura’s for dinner and over a bottle of wine she shared her plans for trekking in China. What a good idea I thought…

So the next day, on a cold January winter’s morning I dusted off my old walking boots and made a plan to get fitter and raise money for Maggie’s.

It’s been quite a journey. I was not fit and not keen on exercise so it was always going to be a challenge to get fit enough for a trek. Surprisingly I have really enjoyed it and been on some glorious walks. I even cycled on my summer holiday this year in Sweden! This weekend I am flying up to Aberdeen to do my last big weekend before we head off to China. It’ll be hard as its three days up and down the Munroes but I am looking forward to it.

Cancer touches a lot of people’s lives and it’s only when you start fundraising that you find out just how many. It’s been motivating for me to hear other people’s stories and the support we received when we organised the China Charity Ball was overwhelming. We raised over £16,000 that night. People still surprise me by their kindness and generosity.

What I’m looking forward to most are the spectacular views and seeing everyone’s face when we take our last few steps and reach the end. For a lot of people this trek is a great personal journey and their stories extraordinary. How lucky am I to be a part of that?

Training for the event...

The trekkers have all been in training leading up to the event, some may have never put on a pair of walking shoes before and some may be passionate which is why they chose the challenge. We love this video as it shows the fun and enjoyment that can some along with training for a challenge, also the friendships that can be made. 

To find our more about Maggies Big Trek please visit maggieschinachallenge.co.uk. We look forward to sharing the photos and video from the event on their return. 

If you want to show your support for a cancer charity we have lots of ways you can do this. To name a few in 2016 you could Cycle China, Trek Nepal, cycle from London to Paris or as a team take on our Ben Nevis Charity Challenge? Visit our website for a full listing of all our dream challenges. 

Feel Inspired? To find out more about Dream Challenges events please visit the website or contact us directly: 

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