Almost 6000 metres high, with oxygen at a minimum, Billy Jeal looked out across the Tanzanian horizon having accomplished something fantastic.
In the early hours of the morning on the 30th October, Billy had reached the summit of the tallest freestanding mountain in the world, Mount Kilimanjaro, raising £6000 in the process.
The 5 day climb had taken its toll, with several members of the party succumbing to altitude sickness and turning back down the mountain. However Billy continued on to reach the summit.
Billy, our Junior Business Analyst, organised the trek to raise money for an innovative new treatment for those living with dementia. “We wanted to raise money to have a ‘Tovertafel’ table installed at Milton Grange in Eastbourne, which holds a special place in my family’s heart for the care they provided to my nan.”
The Tovertafel is a fun care innovation that connects older people in the late stage of their dementia journey with each other and with their surroundings, all the while stimulating movement.
We worked with Billy throughout the planning process, helping to fund the trek and raise awareness of his mission.
It was down in the rainforests at the base of the mountain that the gruelling hike began.
“The terrain changed so much from the rainforest at the foot of the mountain, to the Alpine desert halfway up, to the ice-capped summit.”
It was far from a walk in the park however, as the punishing trek saw Billy suffer from altitude sickness, despite taking a day at the halfway point to acclimatise.
“The last day or two were a real struggle. It got harder to breathe and talk, with every step I took toward the summit just making things worse. But the feeling of accomplishment I got when I reached the summit, Uhuru Peak was indescribable.”
“I quickly realised however that the altitude sickness had hit me pretty hard, and if I didn’t get back down the mountain soon, I could be in real trouble. We moved quickly and managed to get back down to base camp by the end of the day.”
“Even after the trip it took the best part of a week to fully recover, but once I did I was incredibly proud of what we achieved, and so thankful to everyone who donated and helped with the fundraising. I would also like to thank Chequers who helped fund the expedition itself.”