If you happened to catch my last blog, you will already know that on the 22nd of February 2014 I will begin my expedition to the summit Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, in aid of the women's health charity, Wellbeing of Women. Wellbeing of Women is a charity that dedicates their research to the health and wellbeing of women and babies. This research ranges from things like ovarian cancer to improving the health of mothers and babies, as well as something I am extremely interested in, fertility.
You may be thinking that this all seems pretty straightforward thus far... Yes I suppose it is, until you factor in that I also intend to dj on the summit of the highest peak in Africa, hopefully breaking the record for the worlds highest djing gig.
I wanted to start this particular blog with an introduction to the "Music and Mountains" team..!
First up we have the fabulous Heather Geluk. She was almost born on a mountain, well if you can call Canada a mountain. There certainly are more mountains in Canada than in London. Someone I respect and admire greatly. Not only is Heather a pro at managing a career as a change management and communications consultant at PwC, she also has a wealth of experience to offer through her passion for and experience in climbing mountains. Heather has been on over 15 expeditions in the past 5 years to some of the highest mountains in the world, including 8000m peaks like Everest, Lhotse, and Makalu. I am slightly nervous about climbing Kilimanjaro... I couldn't possibly get my head around climbing Everest or spending up to 2 months in a small tent on the side of a mountain... without a shower!
Next up we have the amazing (and possibly one of the most humble people you will ever meet), Chloe Fawsitt. She will play down her profession, but I think she has one of the greatest gifts you could ever give - the Gift of Medicine. Chloe trained as an Orthopaedic surgeon, but now spends her time in an extremely stressful environment - Accident and Emergency. If I could re-live my life, I would wish that I would have the patience it takes to study and become a Doctor. It's a huge bonus for us to have her with us and I'm really looking forward to climbing with Chloe and sharing in this experience with her..!
Next up, we are adding a little spice to the team, with the help of the lovely Helena Paquin. To me she personifies energy and passion.
Helena will describe herself as, "Representing French, Ecuadorian, Mexican and Welsh heritage (with a likely sprinkle of "other"), I am a United Nations mix contained in the body of a Venezuelan (where I am from)...". Helena is just about the hit a milestone birthday - the big 3-0. I am looking forward to spinning a song just for you Helena...!
The thing I really love about our team is its diversity, which brings me to our next team member. Alicia Harman, originally from Malaysia, but now based in the Netherlands, Alicia has a similar goal to Helena, also wanting to achieve something spectacular as she too has just hit the big 3-0. Alicia plans on having a physical year ahead of her, staring with Kilimanjaro!!
And next, right here from London, Anna Groves..! Anna is also just about the enter her 30's. Anna, welcome to the "30-year-old club", I've already been in the club for 5 years, and let me be the first to tell you, it's really great!!
Anna has this to say about the climb:
"I am turning 30 next year and have always wanted to climb Kilimanjaro, so it seems like a perfect way to enter my 30s. I'm looking forward to raising money for such a worthwhile cause, to getting to know the rest of the team, to the training and, of course, the trip itself!"
Adding one more Londoner to the team, we have our keen cyclist Kirsten Barker. She describes herself as being an avid hiker and cyclist, so I am sure already well equipped to climb Kilimanjaro. Kirsten is a consultant at PwC. She will be swapping her corporate suit for a sturdy pair of hiking boots. I'm really looking forward to meeting Kirsten and welcoming her to our team..!
Next up, I have the pleasure of introducing another Canadian to the team, The Lovely Deborah Honig. Born and raised in Toronto Canada, moved to Seattle Washington to work & sailed as a young adult before making London UK her home.
Deborah is seeking to live an active and global life, one that has been made easier by her move to the UK in 2003. Professionally, She has always worked for global companies e.g., McKinsey, Starbucks, and now Diageo where she leads the development Reserve Business across 34 markets. Outside of work, She travels with equal fever immersing herself in sporting and cultural experiences, and in so doing keeping an open mind and meeting as many inspiring people along the way.
She has this to say about the climb:
"Joining this inspired group of women to take on the challenge of climbing Kilimanjaro in support of The Wellbeing of Women is an absolute no-brainer for me. My own wellbeing is a function of my ability to be my best and to help others live their lives to their full potential, and this journey to the top of Kili checks all the boxes. All the money we raise will go to The Wellbeing of Women charity and the research grants that have already helped so many women live fuller, healthier, and happier lives."
And finally, and I am excited to say a late comer to the team, we are so happy to have her on board, the Gorgeous Anna Van Oordt. Keeping up with the theme of Adversity, Anna joins us from Jersey, but the most exciting thing about Anna is that she is a mother. That sets her apart from all of us; we are so honoured to have you on the team Anna.
Anna had this to say about the climb:
"My first view of Kili was from Kenya some 20 years ago whilst backpacking with a group of friends. I look forward to finally returning, especially in aid of Wellbeing of Women. One of the doctors involved with the charity delivered my eldest son and was a fantastic source of support to me over many years. In a lifetime, women go through so many trials and tribulations when it comes to hormones, gynaecology, fertility and childbirth. It is reassuring to know that a charity such as Wellbeing of Women exists to champion often complex and incredibly important research into all aspects of women's health."
Words cannot describe my excitement, but hopefully I have managed to express it today in this blog..