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Hospice Doctor Doing Trek

15 January 2015
A hospice’s Medical Director will be swapping her stethoscope for her walking boots when she realises a life-long dream of visiting Nepal as part of a fundraising trek to raise vital funds for the charity she works for.

Dr Sharon Chadwick has signed up for The Hospice of St Francis’ annual Nepal Trek next autumn and the 50-year-old mum-of-two says she can’t wait for the adventure to begin.

‘I’ve always wanted to go to Nepal,’ says Sharon, who has worked at the Berkhamsted-based Hospice for 12 years and is currently its Medical Director aswell as Consultant in Palliative Medicine at the Hospice and Watford General Hospital.

‘It’s been a life-long dream. I love the mountains and I enjoy being active, so to be able to do something I want to do so much and be able to raise money for the Hospice at the same time – how could I not do it?’

Adds Sharon, from Hollybush Close, Potten End, ‘The whole environment has such a draw for me. Experiencing the culture and the whole spiritual way of life in the mountains will be awesome. To be there amongst the highest mountains in the world is going to be one of the most inspirational, life-affirming and rejuvenating experiences of my life. I can’t wait!’

She has the blessing of her husband, Nigel, and their daughters, Amber and India, who at 17 and 16 are independent enough to be left with Dad. ‘I just decided the time was right,’ she says. ‘I’m still fit, I go to the gym and I run – but this will be a challenge because I don’t walk such distances on a regular basis.

“I was 50 in July, so that was another good reason to go for it and doing the job I do, you realise you never know what’s round the corner - we all need to make the most of every day, so I just thought the stars are aligned, I have to go for it!’

The 12-day trip, scheduled for 31st October – 11th November 2015 and led by experienced travel firm Different Travel, includes a five-day trek through the lush alpine forest of the Ghorepani Poon Hill trail and across the stunning snow-capped peaks of the Annapurna region with its panoramic views across the Himalayas.

After the trek, the group will spend two days volunteering at a hospice in Kathmandu which supports terminally-ill patients. They will help with much-needed refurbishments where basic tasks like repainting rooms or improving kitchen facilities will make a real difference.

‘I’m not planning on taking my stethoscope,’ adds Sharon, who has persuaded one of her best friends, Nicky Smith, from Sarratt, also 50 and a volunteer at the Hospice, to join her.

‘But whether I’ll be using my practical skills, which aren’t great, or my educationalskills, the fact that we’re making a link with another hospice there is a really exciting prospect. I’ll be really interested to see how we can help there.

‘I’m so proud to work for The Hospice of St Francis. It’s a wonderful organisation, which delivers the best possible care to people living with life-limiting illnesses, supporting their families and carers wherever they are across our catchment,’ she says.

Mirroring the hospice’s own ethos of going the extra mile for the patients it cares for, Sharon has set herself a fundraising target of £5,000 – above and beyond the £3,300 minimum fundraising requirement.

‘This is a once-in-a-life time opportunity for me to help make a difference,’ she says, ‘and any support people can please give me to support the Hospice would be really welcome.’ To sponsor Sharon, visit https://www.justgiving.com/Sharon-Chadwick1

Sarah Ajder, Community Fundraiser at the Hospice, said, “The Nepal Trek offers people the chance to explore a fascinating country, meet new people and enjoy shared experiences on a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

‘We’re delighted that Sharon will be joining us, but we still have places available. It’s the best chance to do something different,make a difference and know that every penny raised will help us edge towards the £4.7m we need every year to fund our free care for people living with life-shortening illness in Herts and Bucks not only here at the Hospice, but in their homes and in the community.’

The trek is open to all but requires a registration fee of £340 and a minimum fundraising requirement of £3,300, half of which covers the cost of the trip.

If you’d like to join Sharon for the adventure of a lifetime, sign up now at www.stfrancis.org.uk/events , email sarah.ajder@stfrancis.org.ukor call 01442 869555 to find out more.

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