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25 September 2018, 12:26
Nurses and support staff at the regiona's adult and children's hospice are taking on a once in a lifetime challenge by trekking across Transylvania to raise vital funds to care for their patients.
It is hoped the trek will raise thousands to help the charity continue offering excellent care and support to seriously ill children in Herts, Beds and the MK area - along with adults in Luton and south Bedfordshire.
The nursing team from Keech Hospice Care in Luton, along with other staff and supporters of the charity, will be trekking across the tough terrain of the Transylvanian Alps - including a pitstop at Count Dracula's castle - for four days from 1 October.
Rosie Leyden, an adult healthcare assistant at Keech Hospice Care, said taking on the trek is something she never could have imagined doing before.
"It will be an incredible experience that I couldn't do without the support of everyone at the hospice. I'm a bit nervous about just how challenging it is going to be as we'll be trekking for around seven or eight hours a day for four days straight in the mountains. I've never done anything like this in my life," said Rosie.
"When times get tough I know I'll have the team behind me and be thinking about the wonderful patients, volunteers, family and friends who have helped us get this far.
"Some of our patients have held their own events to raise money for us or brought cash in that they've been collecting in their communities, and one gentleman even donated £1,000! Their outstanding generosity and support will keep spurring me on."
Angie Shipley, a senior staff nurse at Keech Hospice Care, said she has her own personal motivations for taking on the adventure.
"I had spinal cord compression a couple of years ago and was unable to even do simple things like get in the shower on my own. Then I had an operation to help me walk independently and it has given me a whole new passion for life. I've seen the treks Keech has done in the past and because of my experience, I knew I wanted to give something back too," said Angie.
"Around 70 per cent of the funding for our care comes from our community and supporters, so we're hoping this will raise thousands of pounds to help us continue supporting adults and children with terminal and life-limiting illnesses.
"We've been doing our bit too and have held discos, garden parties, BBQs and bake sales to raise money - what can I say, we're a hospice which runs on cake!"
Once the trek is complete, the group will leave a lasting legacy in Bucharest by helping some of the country's poorest children to develop their English skills and achieve in school.
To donate towards the trek visit www.keech.org.uk/donate