Nurses from Bedfordshire hospice take on marathon fundraising trek

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Nurses at a hospice are taking on a once-in-a-lifetime challenge by trekking across Transylvania to raise vital funds.

The nursing team from Keech Hospice Care, which provides care and support to seriously ill adults in Luton and south Bedfordshire, and children across Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Milton Keynes, along with other staff and supporters of the charity, will be trekking across the tough terrain of the Transylvanian Alps – including a pitstop at Count Dracula’s castle - for four days from October 1.

Rosie Leyden, an adult healthcare assistant at Keech Hospice Care, said: “It will be an incredible experience that I couldn’t do without the support of everyone at the hospice. I’m a bit nervous about just how challenging it is going to be as we’ll be trekking for around seven or eight hours a day for four days straight in the mountains. I’ve never done anything like this in my life.

“When times get tough I know I’ll have the team behind me and be I’ll thinking about the wonderful patients, volunteers, family and friends who have helped us get this far.

“Some of our patients have held their own events to raise money for us or brought cash in that they’ve been collecting in their communities, and one gentleman even donated £1,000! Their outstanding generosity and support will keep spurring me on.”

Angie Shipley, a senior staff nurse at Keech Hospice Care, said she has her own personal motivations for taking on the adventure.

“I had spinal cord compression a couple of years ago and was unable to even do simple things like get in the shower on my own. Then I had an operation to help me walk independently and it has given me a whole new passion for life. I’ve seen the treks Keech has done in the past and because of my experience, I knew I wanted to give something back too,” said Angie.

“Around 70 per cent of the funding for our care comes from our community and supporters, so we’re hoping this will raise thousands of pounds to help us continue supporting adults and children with terminal and life-limiting illnesses.

“We’ve been doing our bit too and have held discos, garden parties, barbecues and bake sales to raise money – what can I say, we’re a hospice which runs on cake!”

Once the trek is complete, the group will leave a lasting legacy in Bucharest by helping some of the country’s poorest children to develop their English skills and achieve in school.

To donate towards the trek visit www.keech.org.uk/donate