A fundraiser who climbed Mount Snowdon to thank St Giles Hospice for supporting his friend through his final days is calling on trekkers to join its brand new Arctic Adventure challenge.
Muteen Ahmed, (39) scaled the highest mountain in Wales in memory of his former colleague Charlie Henley. Charlie, who had cancer, received end of life care at the hospice in 2020.
Now Muteen is encouraging others to raise funds for St Giles by taking part in a charity adventure in the spectacular scenery of Finland.
Adventurers will be snowshoeing to a remote overnight cabin and get the chance to try cross-country skiing and husky-sledding. Staying in traditional log cabins in the woods, they will be able to relax in Finnish saunas and enjoy the incredible dark and clear night skies – and although it’s not guaranteed, they may also witness the captivating Northern Lights.
Muteen said: “The Arctic Adventure sounds like a fantastic experience. If you can do a Trek and Trail challenge for St Giles then I would say go for it – the sense of satisfaction you get from completing your challenge and helping this good cause is amazing.
“I went to visit my friend Charlie on the Inpatient Unit at St Giles a few times before he passed away and was always really impressed with the care he received. It was absolutely fantastic – from the cleaners and food servers to the doctors and nurses, everyone was so friendly and supportive.
“St Giles is a brilliant place, so bright and clean, and you can see that everybody truly cares about the patients. Nothing was too much trouble. Everyone gave phenomenal support to patients and their families.”
While Muteen, from Burton, who works as a contractor at GBA Group for Toyota in Derby, was visiting Charlie at St Giles he discovered that only a third of the £10m the hospice needs each year to provide its care services came from the Government.
As a result, he signed up to play the hospice lottery and then joined the Snowdon by Night trek in June (2021) to raise funds and thank staff for the way they had looked after his friend.
Hearing about the challenge that Muteen had set himself, his colleagues Hannah Alexander and Nigel Wyles signed up as well – and together they raised £2,072 to support the hospice.
“Climbing Snowdon was a tough challenge, but we really enjoyed it and got a great sense of achievement when we made it to the top,” he said. “It was great to say that we’d managed to do it and I’d encourage anyone to join a trek if they can because it’s a really good way to give something back to your community.”
The Arctic Adventure, taking place between 9th and 13th March next year (2022), begins with a flight from London to Kuusamo in Finland. Run in partnership with the company Discover Adventure, it is suitable for fundraisers of all abilities and is open to anyone aged 18 and over.
Chloe Herbert, Head of Fundraising at St Giles Hospice, said: “The Arctic Adventure is a brand new addition to our list of Treks and Trails events and we’re looking for plucky adventurers who want to sign up and join our supportive team or come along with their family, friends or colleagues for the experience of a lifetime.
“This trek will give you the chance to get away from the crowds and enjoy the peaceful scenes of frozen lakes and snow covered pine and spruce forests as you explore the silent wilderness of Finland.
“You will also have the satisfaction of knowing that your fundraising has made a real difference to St Giles Hospice and all of the local patients and families that we care for. Over the last 18 months we’ve had to cancel our fundraising events and close our shops – which has had a major impact on our income – so your support is more vital than ever.”
Participants pay a £249 registration fee for the event and pledge to raise a minimum sponsorship of £2,400 for St Giles Hospice, which will fund care for patients and their families living with a terminal illness. Travel and transport costs are included and everyone taking part will receive all meals (except where specified) and accommodation, and will be accompanied by Discover Adventure leaders, local guides and drivers throughout the challenge.
“Although it might feel like a big fundraising target, the fundraising team are here to support you to reach your goals, every step of the way,” Chloe added.
As a member of #TeamStGiles, adventurers will also get an exclusive St Giles T-shirt, a bespoke St Giles Hospice fundraising pack, a dedicated member of the hospice fundraising team to assist them with training and fundraising and a supportive community and team to engage with ahead of the event and during the challenge.
Muteen added: “We got brilliant support from the hospice fundraising team – they were great and answered any questions we had straight away. They really made it all as easy as possible.
“Fundraising for St Giles is so vital. It makes an enormous difference and you never know when you or your family will need hospice care. It’s important to know that they are there for you if you need them.”