Over the years, I, like many others have happily sponsored friends on their charitable endeavors. Be that cycling in foreign lands, running marathons in major cities,or falling out the sky. Each time my subconscious self asked whether I could have done that too . Each time I would down convince myself that I wasn’t fit or brave enough/ didn’t have the time as a full time GP & mum of 3 or quite simply because I felt breathless just thinking about any one of those challenges.
Life presented me with an opportunity which I’m truly grateful for: a planned few weeks off work. I now had the time to walk with friends and their dogs and soon I could comfortably walk 10k in 2 hours pounding the streets and Heath of London. Not being a natural sportswoman I was pleased that I enjoyed this exercise, nurtured friendships and saw parts of London I really would have never seen from the car. So when the chance came to walk 50k over 3 days in the Grand Canyon for Camp Simcha in 2016, I had enough self belief to sign up . I knew something about the work which Camp Simcha does and was fairly confident that others would get it too. In fact the real challenge, or so I thought, would be raising the sponsorship money so that every penny which other people gave so generously would go to Camp Simcha for their good work and certainly not for travel accommodation or expenses. Having also trained a session on the climbing wall at Swiss Cottage which would prove very useful, collected equipment from friends, family I was set to go. The group had formed its whatsapp status ‘CS Conquer the Canyon’ following a meeting in the Camp Simcha offices and a walk on the Heath one helpfully hot day in May. So off I went to Terminal 3 Heathrow to meet the real group. And there I thought my challenge would be to get along with people I hardly knew of various ages from 23-68, some with spouses, others alone, from Manchester, Israel, Baltimore and London.
I need not have worried. In fact one year on from this challenge we still remain a bunch of eclectic individuals who never would have naturally crossed paths but who shared an utterly life affirming experience that bonds us uniquely.
Together, we gawped at the beauty of the Red Rock county, marvelled at the vastness of the Grand Canyon, swam in turquoise blue waters, jumped off waterfalls,BBQ-ed kosher meats under the stars, washed our hair and bodies in natural water, joked, told stories, cried, hugged, encouraged and walked 50 kilometres in the biggest hole in the earth. Yes, there were tough bits on the trek – mainly the last day but we walked at our own pace and whooped with joy for each other as we came up and out of the canyon. I know that the promise of a night in Vegas before flying home provided just the right incentives to keep moving on up. At the top we hugged in brother and sisterhoods . Emotions flowed in relief and at the real reasons why we were raising money for camp Simcha some of which were extremely personal. I loved it and would truly encourage anyone thinking about the next trek to sign up. It was one of the most life affirming few days I’ve ever had and will always be grateful for this opportunity.
Now I totally get why friends have signed up again & again raising thousands for such a worthwhile cause.
Camp Simcha’s next challenge is The Freedom Trail and their very own CEO, Neville Goldschneider is taking part!
Find out why this challenge means so much to him personally.
If you would like to support our Freedom Trail team, you can sponsor them here.