Climbing With Compassion

Facing tough weather conditions and the possibility of high altitude sickness, Forth Valley physiotherapist Lyndsey Rollo joined a team of climbers from across the UK to trek to the summit of the world’s highest free-standing mountain. At 19,341ft, Mount Kilimanjaro is the fourth highest of the world’s Seven Summits.

Lyndsey was helping raise money for the child sponsorship charity Compassion. Here she recounts her journey, which began with a bake sale in Stirling Community Hospital which netted £200.

Climbing Kilimanjaro was on my bucket-list! It had been there for a few years and when I heard that Compassion were doing a sponsored climb, myself and two friends who also sponsor children, decided that we would like to take on this challenge whilst raising money for a great cause. There were 20 climbers in total on our trip (the other 17 we hadn’t met before, but we bonded great within such a short space of time).

Our trip was 10 days long and the day before the climb we were able to visit a local village and meet about 300 kids who are being sponsored by the charity. We played games with the kids, sang and danced with them, and visited some of families. This gave us great motivation for our climb ahead. The climb itself was 6 days in length (4.5 days up, 1.5 days down).

On the day we reached the summit we left at midnight with our head torches glowing and butterflies in our bellies!  After seven and a half tough hours, I reached the summit at 7:40am. I remember there were two times during the summit night when I wondered if I would make it – it was so cold (about minus twenty degrees and then the wind chill on top of that). The air was so thin that it made us breathless.  However, there was a great team spirit and I knew that we were being well supported from home and had lots of people praying too!

The Bake Sale

This was a great team effort!  My colleagues in the office were so keen to help out and we knew how much people loved a bake sale, so we thought it would go down a treat. The cakes were made by colleagues in the ReACH Stirling team, orthotics, dietitics and ReACH Forth Valley. The sale, during lunch break, was very well supported. People were so generous and there was a great buzz in the room. I would like to thank everyone for their support, their generosity and encouragement for the climb. Because of people’s contributions, children’s lives have been changed.  I love that what we do here can make a difference to people elsewhere.

The Charity

Compassion is a child sponsorship charity, helping children in third world countries with food, clothes and education. I personally have two sponsorship children and love receiving letters and pictures from them throughout the year.

This climb was to support children infected by AIDS, living with the HIV virus, or who are living with parents or siblings who are HIV positive or infected by AIDS. Compassion used our donations to provide:

  • Education that prevents the spread of HIV
  • Transportation to clinics for treatments
  • Treatment with antiretroviral therapy (ART)
  • Nutritional support for children who are infected with HIV
  • Education and medication for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission