Practice nurses Jenny Greenfield and Jetta Chita are trekking the Great Wall of China to raise money for breast cancer. In the first of a regular blog, they talk about getting fit for the challenge of a lifetime
Breast cancer is one of the most common causes of death in the UK and, as a practice nurse, I have seen first hand the devastation this can cause to the patient and their family and friends.
But all is not doom and gloom, more and more people are fighting the disease and with the help of fundraisers everywhere the money raised can help towards further research and hopefully a future cure.
What was my motivation? My best friend died of cancer last year, he fought very hard to beat the disease, but lost the battle. The dedication from the nurses and medical staff was second to none. It raised my awareness of the cost of keeping cancer patients alive, and the hope for a cure. That was all the motivation I needed, I wanted to put something back for my friend.
I have been a keen hill walker in the past, though not a great keep fit fanatic. I decided that walking was something I enjoyed, so why not put my time to good use and get walking for a good cause? So here I am walking the wee hind legs off myself, trying to get fit, to do the trek along the Great Wall of China for Breast Cancer Campaign.
This would not have been possible if it wasn’t for my friends and colleagues who volunteered themselves to help with the fundraising, and what a challenge they set themselves.
We have had a race night, raffles, car boot sales, guess the age of the teddy, quiz sheets and of course the sponsors from the patients, friends and family. It has been a tremendous success and we have gone beyond the minimum sponsorship of £2,800 - we’re hoping to get nearer to £3,500.
Strutting my stuff
My own challenge is to get fit enough to complete the challenge.
To do this I have been following a fitness programme given by Charity Challenge who organise the walk. This was a six month programme and I have tried to follow it to the letter. I walk for an hour at lunchtime, Monday to Friday, and at weekends I try to walk 4 hours each day.
People are starting to recognise me, the patients wave and cheer when they see me out at lunchtime strutting my stuff. This has also been a good exercise as a practice nurse, as my job is to promote healthy issues as well as encourage exercise to the chronic sick.
Raising breast awareness is an important part of my job and I use every opportunity to encourage women of all ages to do self-examination and attend for their mammograms.
So that is my introduction to you all, I will keep you updated on my progress and in the meantime here are a couple of pictures - one of me hard at work with my pink t-shirt and breast awareness ribbon and one of my work colleagues and fundraisers. Hope you feel motivated now to contact Breast Cancer Campaign to find out how you too can participate in a challenge.
The trek runs for nine days and each day I’ll be trekking up to 12km along the Great Wall before ending with a stop at Beijing where we have the chance to explore the city.
I decided to sign up to the challenge as I wanted to raise as much money as I could for Breast Cancer Campaign. I wanted to do something bigger than just a local run or walk. I’d always wanted to go to China as well so this seemed like the perfect option.
As part of my job as a practise nurse I focus on women’s health and also lecture at the University of Brighton in order to teach local nurses on how to help patients be more breast aware. Because of this I’m very aware of how important it is to raise awareness and money to help beat this disease. Several of my close friends and family have also been affected by breast cancer in the past, so I really wanted to do all I can for Breast Cancer Campaign to help get a step closer to finding a cure.
I’m taking part in the challenge with a good friend of mine so that we can support each other along the way and we’re both really excited. Like me she’s also been really keen to visit China so now we can do it for a good cause!
I start the trek on 3 April so from now until then I’ll be busy training and getting myself fit. Over the next few weeks I’ll be writing different entries to keep you posted on my progress and hopefully even inspire a few more people to sign up as well!
So far I’ve raised £2,270 for Breast Cancer Campaign through sponsorship, all of which will help the charity continue funding vital breast cancer research. If you would like to help me raise a bit more money then all donations are welcome! Simply visit my Just Giving page at justgiving.com/jenny-greenfield
For more information visit breastcancercampaign.org