A Hucknall woman has raised more than £3,000 for local hospice Treetops on an once-in-a-lifetime charity walk in China.

47 year old Debbie Sewell, walked over 117,000 steps and over 9,000 feet in altitude, over 5 days along the mountainous Great Wall of China to raise money for Treetops Hospice Care last October.

Debbie decided to sign up for the adventurous 53 mile challenge after a family member received support from Treetops Hospice at Home nurses. Hospice at Home nurses care for patients at the end of life in their own homes during the day or at night. Debbie’s mum, Rose, also volunteers at the hospice Day Care Unit based in Risley.

I’d definitely do it again

Now back at work and with the final sponsor money collected, Debbie reflects on the once-in-a-lifetime experience:

“The experience was just amazing. It was harrowing at times as I knew I was afraid of heights but I didn’t know I was petrified of heights! But I did it, I accomplished it and I’d definitely do it again. You have to just face your fears – life is too short not to.

“It was definitely a challenge – physically and mentally. My £2 Treetops charity shop poles were the best invention ever though as I thought I’d be more stiff and sore in the evenings but not at all. I never ached once, which was really surprising.

“The charity challenge staff and the Chinese guides were absolutely brilliant, really supportive. There’s no time scale – you walk at your own pace and nearly every night we also went out – we went to an art gallery and learnt some Chinese writing, visited a Jade factory, went to the Olympic Park in Beijing, went to Tiananmen square, walked around the Forbidden City, saw some acrobatic shows and theatre – I learnt so much about China and its history.

“You could also add some extra trips onto the end of the week so I went to see the Terracotta Army and had a ‘panda experience’.”

The experience itself outweighs everything – you can’t put a value on that

Debbie urges others to give it a go:

“It is a lot of money to raise to go but it is worth so much more than that – the experience itself outweighs everything and you can’t put a value on that. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone.  Knowing you did it for a good cause makes it worthwhile.”

Those inspired by Debbie’s story can find out more about the Great Wall of China Trek and other challenge events overseas and in the UK, at a special Charity Challenge Evening at Treetops on Wednesday 7 February.

Treetops Hospice Care services include Support and Information, a Day Care Unit, Hospice at Home nurses and Therapeutic Services including counselling, art therapy and complementary therapy.