12-months ago I was travelling in Nepal. I found the country to be beyond beautiful, the people hospitable, kind and, without question, some of the nicest I have ever met. They were always welcoming to me and my fellow travelling companions at every point during our time in their country. On Saturday, a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit central Nepal with it's epicentre being in the Gorkha district causing immense destruction, loss of life and total displacement. It was then followed by many ferocious aftershocks that were reportedly measured at an astonishing 6.7 on the richter scale, this is larger then some recorded earthquakes in other parts of the World. A BBC Correspondent, Justin Rowlatt, who was caught up in one of the aftershocks whilst filming a report in the aftermath of the earthquake described it as: "a wave reverberating in the ground" [View Clip]. The report is enough to bring shivers down your spine. On top of this, footage has emerged from climbers who were attempting Mt. Everest of a huge avalanche triggered by the earthquake. This avalanche has since been reported to have been like a 50 foot wave of snow and ice flattening base camp and burying everything and everyone in it's way [View Clip].
The death toll is well over 5000 people already with the Prime Minister, Sushil Koirala, expecting this figure to be in excess of 10,000 people and that is without the many millions who have been left injured. It is a humanitarian crisis that is made even worse by the fact that Nepal is a poor country. A disaster like this would test even the richest countries in the World. The images that are currently circulating the news are many of the places that I found myself in only 12-months ago. It brings a tear to my eye seeing the destruction mother nature can cause.
But we can help, the UK government has pledged £5 million of emergency relief to the country with aid on it's way. But, we as individuals, can help by pledging money to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) who are an umbrella company of 13 leading UK aid agencies working on the ground to help the Nepali folks deal with the aftermath of this horrendous disaster. Your money, no matter how small, will go along way to help these people in need. I have donated today via the following website, please find it in your heart to do the same:
In times of emergency, borders should not matter, differences put aside and the World should come together to form one humanity and to help our fellow citizens of the World.
Just less than 6 weeks to go until I take part in my hardest challenge to date: The National 3 Peaks Challenge. That is the UK's 3 highest peaks in 24 hours. I made a public declaration a few weeks ago of my intention to do this, not to boast or to brag but to make sure I follow through with the decision and not wimp out when the going gets a bit too tough. It is harder to wimp out when everyone knows! With time dwindling away I still have a huge amount of goals to cover in terms of fitness before I will feel ready to take on the mighty 3 peaks. This brought me to thinking: Are you ever ready to take on any form of challenge whether it is physical or a life choice? I bet you can ask every person lining up to a marathon or embarking on a tough decision whether they are truly happy with their preparation or what they would do if they had more time. If I was a betting man then I could safely bet on every single one of them coming up with something that they would change or work on more. My training continues how it started: Strong and fairly structured!
As you may, or may not have been aware I am completing the National 3 Peaks Challenge whilst raising money for the lovely folks at Great Ormond Street Hospital. This is to help them continue their fantastic work by giving very sick children the best possible chance of recovering from illness, develop pioneering treatments and to provide help and support to the families affected. I believe that the Doctors, Nurses and other medical practitioners at GOSH are doing an amazing job on a day-to-day basis and I would like to support that by raising money to help them continue doing their fantastic work.
When choosing a charity to raise funds and awareness for during this challenge I was bombarded with offers of charity places. This is where you can participate on a certain date with a group of others also raising money for the same cause. The challenge would then cost the participant absolutely nothing (£0). All the participant would need to do is to raise a certain level of sponsorship in order to reach the start line. For me, that was £2000. Through my research I was unable to ascertain the exact percentage share between what goes to these costs and how much actually goes to the charity to help them continue their fantastic work. I am sure they do OK out of it when you think of the amount of participants they involve each year. However, as the figures were very unclear and not transparent to me then I decided to decline any of the offers.
Instead, I am fully financing my own challenge using my own money. At the end of the day it's my choice to do a challenge such as this. Who gives me the right to expect an entry for free. Then, to partner up with a charity to raise funds and awareness for, in this case: Great Ormond Street Hospital. This way I can guarantee to all of my sponsors that their money goes directly to the people that need it. None of their money will go to financing the challenge itself. It is completely separate.
Don't get me wrong, I am not against the minimum sponsorship/charity route. For some people it is the only way to get guaranteed entry into events: London Marathon for example. But, I have a choice and I wasn't comfortable with not knowing how much money was actually going to the good cause compared to the costs and, more importantly, I personally don't think I deserve to participate for free when I currently have to means to pay for it.
As a result, I can completely guarantee that your donation goes straight to Great Ormond Street Hospital and really does give me the motivation to keep at the hardcore training session that I have set myself for the event. Please give generously: