Hospice nurse takes on Everest challenge

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Date published: Thursday 18th April 2019 | 09:38 GMT

Val will take on a trek to Island Peak in the Himalayas in May!

A St Clare Hospice nursing volunteer from Bishop’s Stortford has vowed to complete a daring trek to Island Peak 6,189 meters (Everest Region) in order to raise vital funding.

Val Bennett (age 54, standing at 4ft 10.5in) has volunteered on our Inpatient Unit as a nursing assistant since April 2018. On Wednesday 1st May 2019, she will depart from the UK for the adventure of a lifetime – trekking dozens of kilometres within the Everest mountain range in the Himalayas, all in order to raise vital funding for the West Essex and East Herts hospice.

“I first started volunteering at St Clare in April 2018 because I had extra time to spare and felt I could offer love, care and support to the patients and their families,” says Val.

“My mum has got dementia and macular degeneration, which seemed to get worse after my Dad died seven years ago. After my experience in taking care of her, I became a Carer Trainer with Carers in Hertfordshire, where I would offer advice and guidance to clinical professionals on what it’s really like to care for someone long term and what challenges unpaid carers faced.

“When I retired from running my own business for the past 25 years, I wanted to do something meaningful, I knew it would make me happy to offer something back to society and try to make a little difference – and by helping others in the local community,” Val reflects. “Volunteering at the Hospice seemed like the perfect fit.” This April, the dedicated nursing volunteer will celebrate her first year anniversary with the team at St Clare.

“Through my volunteering role at the Hospice, I see first-hand the difference that our care and support makes to local families,” Val explains. “It’s such a privilege to help St Clare deliver their care to people who need them, completely free of charge. However, I understand the costs involved to be able to do this – we each need to come together as a community to ensure that everybody receives the support they need. That’s why I’m taking on this challenge: to help raise the vital funding that enables us to do what we do here at St Clare.”

 Val’s sponsored fundraising challenge to Everest’s Island Peak in the Khumbu Valley is not for the faint-hearted. The adventure entails a 23-day trip to Nepal, during which climbers will be challenged continuously;  rocky out-crops, broken glaciers sporting huge crevasses, a steep 200m head-wall and finally a knife-sharp ridge that will bring them to the summit of Island Peak at 6,189m above sea level.

“I’m hoping that by taking on a challenge like this, I’ll be able to raise awareness of St Clare, too,” adds Val. “Sometimes, people don’t realise what a hospice truly is, but when they do, they discover just how much we can support them.”

Commenting on her upcoming challenge, Val says, “It is a little bit scary to be taking on such a huge feat – it’s much more advanced than the Everest Base Camp challenge I did in 2017 for another local charity. But it’s something new, and in my eyes, there’s no point doing it if it’s not going to challenge me! I know I’ll be making my family proud, and myself, and it will be all going towards a cause that is so close to my heart – St Clare.”


Sponsor Val

If you would like to sponsor Val Bennett on her Island Peak climb, please visit her charity fundraising page at: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ValBennett

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