Lucy Buckingham, 22, is climbing Mount Kilimanjaro as a tribute to her mum, Sarah, who was our Family Support Manager here at Julia’s House, before her death from cancer last year. Lucy has raised more than £10,000 for us after setting out to hike 5895m to the summit of Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in memory of her mum.“Mum was such a kind, lovely woman and I saw first-hand what a difference she made to families’ lives. People often don’t realise all the things that go on behind the scenes at Julia’s House – all the events, wonderful winter parties and summer barbecues. This extra social support is so valuable to families.
Lucy, who also volunteers to work with our siblings, said: “I hope the money I raise will continue mum’s legacy – to help families get the care they deserve. I knew I needed to raise £3,500, I aimed for £7,000 and have so far raised over £10,000, which is amazing.
“I had always talked about hiking to the top of Kilimanjaro. Mum’s death made me realise just how short and precious life is and really spurred me to get on and do something about it.
“I feel pretty terrified now the moment has arrived but have done everything I can to prepare in the last six months, including a 20 mile hike every week and swimming a mile and a half most days to improve my lung capacity. The hardest bit is going to be coping with the altitude but I can’t train for that.”
Lucy will take five days to go up the mountain and two days to come down, walking seven hours a day – with a 13 hour walk on the final push for the summit, starting at midnight: “that’s going to be tough and a bit of a shock to the system”.
“I’m told that 50 per cent of people fail to reach the top, but I am really determined. Fundraising in memory of mum and for Julia’s House is the most incredible motivation.”
Lucy juggled fundraising for her climb with studying for her finals – and has just graduated with a first class degree in paediatric nursing: “Training as a children’s nurse I got the chance to do a lot of palliative care. Being there for families facing a loss has, in a strange way, helped me with my grieving. There were things I wanted to do with mum that I never got to do but I was able do things for these families, give them some comfort, instead. It has been heart breaking – but also inspiring. It’s what I want to do with my life now.”
When she gets back Lucy plans to take six months off and go travelling before settling down to a nursing career: “I would love to gain some experience working in a big children’s hospital like Great Ormond Street and then, who knows, perhaps I will end up at Julia’s House. Mum would have loved that.”
To make a donation visit Lucy’s JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Lucy-Buckingham24