The challenge, which will take place on 18-28 October 2018, will see a team of 50 trekkers journey through the spiritual heart of Northern India, home to the Dalai Lama and the centre of the Tibetan community in the foothills of the Himalayas.
The team will begin their journey in Dharamsala, where the Tibetan community are situated, before setting off into the peaceful and stunning Himalayan mountain range.
With spectacular views guaranteed, they will pass through the Kingdom of Gaddi, a semi-nomadic race who spend months wandering the high passes with their cattle, rhododendron forests, Hindu settlements and Buddhist monasteries.
As part of the challenge, participants will also be invited to hang prayer flags at the highest point of the trek in Laka Got to celebrate the lives of loved ones and all those cared for by St Barnabas House.
Kerry O’Neill, Events Fundraiser for St Barnabas House, said: “We often find that the challenge events we hold, particularly the overseas treks, include a number of participants who have a close personal connection to the hospice.
“That is why we always try to include an opportunity at some point along the journey for participants to remember their loved ones in a unique and special way, which is why we are inviting them to hang prayer flags in Laka Got.”
St Barnabas House is a charity which provides outstanding specialist palliative care, both within the hospice and in the comfort of patients’ homes.
Its current strategy, Hospice Care Pioneers, has seen the development of a new specialist nursing service with four nurses dedicated to patients with other end-stage conditions, supporting patients with kidney, heart and liver failure and dementia, in addition to its already existing cancer services.
It costs nearly £6 million each year to run St Barnabas House, and only a small part of the total costs are state funded, meaning that the majority of money has to be raised through voluntary donations and fundraising.
Part of the challenge of the trek is raising sponsorship money to help St Barnabas House to expand its care services through its Hospice Care Pioneers initiative.
She said: “It was my late husband Mike’s idea. He thought that I should go on a little adventure ‘afterwards’, that it would give me a focus and would also be a good way of saying ‘Thank you’ for the wonderful care he was receiving at St Barnabas House.
“He passed away in October 2011 and a few weeks later, just before Christmas, I had a mad five minutes and signed up! Well, the rest of the trek is history as they say. I met my trekking companions and before I knew it, got involved in curry nights, training walks and pub quizzes. It was a bit of a shock to the system, but luckily everybody was so friendly and encouraging.”
Anne admitted that the trek in the Andes in Peru was a test, not just physically, but emotionally, spiritually and mentally as well.
“I came back down from those mountains renewed, refreshed and so very proud,” she added. “The dark clouds had gone and I could see blue skies ahead. I met some truly wonderful people and we had some very memorable moments together.
“The best part is that I have met Paul, my new partner, as a result of that journey and have embarked on many new adventures together, gone on other challenges and still meet regularly with the rest of the team.
“You will love every minute of these challenges and, yes, you can do it. You will gain so much more from the experience than you can ever imagine.”
For those interested in taking part in the trek, St Barnabas House will be holding an information evening at the hospice on Wednesday 8 February 2017. It will include a talk from the trek leader about the challenge, as well as the opportunity to ask questions about the trek or ask for advice on fundraising.
If you would like to attend the information evening you will need to book your place by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01903 706354 as space is limited.
You can find out more about the St Barnabas House Dalai Lama India Trek by going to www.stbh.org.uk/india.