Kathleen treks to Mount Everest base camp in aid of children’s charity

Kathleen Beston, a nurse from Brenshamore, Tipperary Town, is embarking on a journey of a lifetime trekking to the Mount Everest Base Camp in Nepal in March.

Kathleen Beston, a nurse from Brenshamore, Tipperary Town, is embarking on a journey of a lifetime trekking to the Mount Everest Base Camp in Nepal in March.

Her purpose is to raise money for the Irish Defence Forces charity, ‘Childaid’, with particular focus on the Katie House orphanage in Kathmandu.

“I choose this charity because there are no overheads or wages paid to any member of the charity and all participants doing the trek are paying their own way so 100% of money raised will go directly to funding this much needed Orphanage,” said Kathleen.

Childaid was founded by members of the Irish Defence Forces and friends who had first hand experience of the dire conditions experienced by children in the slums of East Africa, especially Kenya and Rwanda. The charity is run by a 5-man board of directors, of all of whom are volunteers.

Kathleen’s trek to the Mount Everest Base Camp in Nepal involves 11 days climbing from the Nepalese side of the Himalayas after flying into Lukla, which is an airstrip on the side of the mountain. The starting altitude is 2900m and the terrain and scenery is varied on the trek going through: Sagarnatha National Park, through alpine forest, passing raging glacial rivers and waterfalls with many steep climbs, massive ravines and crossing suspension bridges some over 350ft high.

“On route we will visit Buddhist monasteries and see the locals go about their daily business and will stay in teahouses in the local villages,” said Kathleen. “After reaching base camp (5365m) on day seven, we set out at 5.30am the next morning to reach the summit of Kala Patthar (5545m) for sunrise to get a 360 degree panoramic view of Everest.”

The weather for this trip is expected to be warm for the first few days but there is always the threat of rain and temperatures getting progressively colder and windy with the ascent. Night time temperatures drop as low as minus 10 at night from 4900m, but quickly warming up when the sun rises.

“I have always wanted to do this trek and after successfully summiting Kilimanjaro in March 2012 I decided my goal for 2013 was to trek to Everest Base Camp and raise money for charity as well,” said Kathleen.

“As a nurse one of my personal goals is to spend time helping out in an orphanage. So when I saw the money from this trip going to an orphanage in Katmandu, this made it even better as I will be able to spend a few days helping out whilst I am there.”

Training for Kathleen has involved many long hikes on the mountains in Tipperary since Christmas and although this cannot prepare her for walking in altitude, it does help to build up her endurance and stamina. She also embarked on strength training, using weights and spin classes in gym during the week and also practicing Yoga and Pilates to keep her joints supple; as this is an important part to prevent injury.

“Doing a trek like this is more a mental challenge than a physical one,” said Kathleen, “and as long as you have good level of fitness it is achievable for anyone.”

So far Kathleen has raised €5186 between a big raffle, events, donations and her own contribution of €2150. With over three weeks to go and donations still coming in she is confident that will reach her target of €5500.

“I really want to thank all those who have supported me, including family and friends and everyone who bought tickets, sold tickets or gave a donation. When I went around the pubs before Christmas selling raffle tickets, I received so many kind words and encouragement and that was really helpful,” added Kathleen.

The raffle raised €2,468.50. The prize sponsors were: Tipp Mid West Radio, pubs in Tipp Town, Cashel, Bansha, Galbally, the Top House in Lattin and Canon Hayes Recreational Centre. My Mother, brothers, sister in law, nephew Sean, Catherine Heffernan, Sr. Rosemary McCarthy, Kate Power and others who helped sell tickets. Suz McGrath for giving up her New Years eve, Diarmud O’Halloran, Pat Power and Libby O’Dwyer for your exceptional sales skills at the Top house. Local business man, Patrick Dawson of Munster Renewable Energy, Galbally and Henry Frasier (Pub), Galbally, for your very generous donations. To everyone who bought tickets or gave a donation and those who promoted the sale of tickets and all the kind words, encouragement and support I received as I went from pub to pub over the Christmas period selling tickets.

Congratulations to raffle winners: 1st Prize, Munster jersey went to James Shelly, Rosegreen. 2nd Prize, €150 BT voucher was won by Maurice Leahy, Lattin. 3rd Prize, a meal for two at Chez Hans went to Mary Beston, Brenshamore. 4th Prize, a Swedish massage at Ballykisteen Hotel, won by Jo Breen. 5th Prize, a €50 voucher from Tommy Byrnes Spar, Tipperary Town, won by Michael McGrath, Station Road, Tipperary Town.

n If you would like to make a donation, please go to www.mycharity.ie and type in Kathleen Beston. Wishing you a safe and successful journey.