Three East Antrim women are set to embark on an adventure of a lifetime in aid of Action Cancer.
Tracey McIlwaine, her daughter Rebekka and sister-in-law Florence McDowell, from Ballynure will be heading to the Himalayas in April to take part in a gruelling charity trek.
Trekkers will cross some of India’s most rugged terrain to a height of 3500 metres hiking for up to eight hours per day for five days and sleeping in two-man tents.
Tracey said: “The temperature will vary from 26-28 degrees during the day and drop down to -5 degrees at night.
“The one problem which we may face is altitude sickness which comes into play I believe over 2500m – our highest point is 3500m and we will only know that we are affected by it when it happens.
“Our treat at the end of the trek will be a visit to the Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.”
To prepare for the trip, Tracey said that she is currently stepping up her fitness regime.
“I knew that the trek entailed raising £3300 for Action Cancer and a big increase in my fitness levels. Whilst I walk our dogs every day, I knew I’d have to increase the distance covered and the level of difficulty.
“I have very recently joined the “Walk the Antrim Hills” group and have also done a few walks in the Mournes with an Action Cancer volunteer. I have also started to do Pilates which I feel will improve my fitness and endurance ability.”
Tracey explained that the idea for the trek was sparked by an email from the Action Cancer charity.
“I mentioned it to my family and they suggested that I should go along, and my daughter Rebekka volunteered to do the trek with me.
“A number of factors made me decide now would be as good a time as any and Rebekka would be able to take time off from her PhD to join me.
“I have often seen these challenges advertised and thought it would be a great thing to do in memory of my mother Hester Palmer who passed away four years ago and had suffered from cancer.
“We decided at the outset that we would fund our own expenses so we could reassure people that all the money we raised would be put to good use by Action Cancer. We have been humbled by the generosity of our family and friends.
“We have bag packed, held dances, a coffee morning, craft stalls, a disco, a ballot, and an auction.
“We thank Christopher Snoddy who organised a bowling competition which raised £300 and Neil, Ross, Jonathon and Chris from QUB who donated their £300 prize money from an Institution of Civil Engineers competition. We also thank Larne Rugby Football Club which raised funds for us through their pig racing day.
“We are indebted to many friends who have given very generously and to the following people/businesses who helped us by giving prizes for the ballot and our auction: P&O Ferries; Ramada Portrush; McDowell’s shop Gleno; S D Kells; Sleepy Hollow; Plata; Darren Paul; Roy Smyth; Ken Armstrong; Tom Stephenson; Larne Studio; students and staff of Larne Grammar School and the ladies of Gleno WI craft group.
“We have set up a Just Giving account – http://www.justgiving.com/Tracey-Rebekka-Mcilwaine and thank all those who have given so generously to it. We also have a facebook page called ‘McIlwaines hit the Himalayas’.
“For me the most important thing is that this will be a great adventure, a chance for Rebekka, Florence and I to have a really special time together.
“It will be a challenge and hard work but a wonderful once in a lifetime memory to keep forever.”