Becky and Amy’s Grand Canyon Experience
We recently caught up with friends Becky and Amy who took part in our trek to the Grand Canyon in May 2018. They share their experience trekking to one of the World’s most iconic natural wonders and why they chose to support Cancer Fund for Children.
What motivated you both to sign up to our Grand Canyon Trek?
“We were both looking for our next big challenge – the chance to do something really extraordinary that would make a difference. Then one day I was driving through Belfast and happened to see a billboard advertising Cancer Fund for Children’s trek and knew that it was meant to be. It was exactly what we were looking for.” Becky said.
“I’ve had previous experience doing charity treks, having climbed Kilimanjaro in September 2014, so I knew how rewarding an experience it could be. I also knew however how challenging both the fundraising and the trek itself can be, so I had convinced myself that I wouldn’t be doing any more treks. That was until, Amy decided she wanted us to trek the Grand Canyon and I just knew I couldn’t let the opportunity pass me by.” Becky said.
Why did you choose to support Cancer Fund for Children?
“Working in the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children was the driving force behind my decision. Working with extremely sick children, including those with cancer, means I have seen and heard the stories of the wonderful work the charity does first-hand.” Becky said.
“I had previously worked for a charity for homeless children in New York and I was really missing that feeling of doing something worthwhile that helps others. It seemed like such perfect timing to find an opportunity to trek with a charity doing such amazing work for children in Northern Ireland living with cancer.” Amy said.
How did you find the trek itself?
“The trek itself was the experience of a lifetime. Being able to see one of the most iconic natural wonders of the world, which is seen so often on television, in books and on the internet, right in front of our very own eyes was almost surreal. We also had the privilege of seeing much of what the usual tourist routes won’t allow you to experience, as our knowledgeable guides from Arizona Outdoor Adventures took us the roads less travelled. We went off the beaten track and found some beautifully peaceful and spiritual spots. We also learnt lots about the natural vegetation and wildlife.”
Was there anything challenging about the trek?
“Probably the most challenging thing about the Grand Canyon trek was the immense heat in which we were walking. There wasn’t much shade along the routes we took, especially in Zion National Park, and so we just had to make sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. We also kept stocked up with snacks along the way and rested when we needed to. Some of the routes, including the Grand View Trail, were more difficult than the others and were steeper than we had expected, so it was important to take our time, tread carefully and encourage each other along the way.
Do you have any favourite memories from the trek?
“It’s really difficult to pick just a few favourite memories from the trip as there are so many to choose from! One stand-out memory from the Grand Canyon though has to be our first glimpse of the Canyon itself, after having travelled for so long to get there. It was spectacular and almost a bit overwhelming to see the sheer expanse of the site.
“Another favourite moment was on the morning of the third day of the trek when we got up incredibly early to see the sun rise over the Canyon. It truly was one of those money-can’t-buy experiences in life and was totally worth the early morning wake-up call!
And our final memorable part of the trip would probably be Zion National Park, which is probably not as well-known as the Canyon and was therefore a really pleasant surprise to us. We didn’t know much about it before-hand which probably made it all the more stunning as we didn’t know what to expect and were totally blown away.”
You raised a staggering £14,846. How did you go about doing this?
“When we signed up for the trek the fundraising was probably the aspect we were most concerned about, because it seemed like so much money to raise. So as soon as we were committed to the trek we immediately got started. We kicked off with a bake sale at a local community event, then had a charity golf day at our local golf club.
“Northern Regional College were also very kind to support us with a Christmas Jumper Day, and Randox threw a Christmas Raffle. Next came our Gala Ball in the Galgorm and we rounded everything off with a Coffee Morning at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children. It was a lot of hard work but absolutely worth the time and effort. It will really surprise you how generous people can be.”
Do you have any tips to help future trekkers with their fundraising?
“We started off with a bit of a brainstorm of all of our ideas and put them into a calendar for the year ahead. That way we were able to space out our events throughout the year and focus on one particular event at a time. It’s important to enjoy the fundraising and make it as stress-free as possible. It’s also a good idea to target different groups of people to ensure you aren’t always asking the same people to support you. Our golf day targeted local businesses, whereas our Gala Ball was mainly friends and family.”
What would you say to anyone considering taking part in a trek with Cancer Fund for Children?
“Just do it. You only regret the chances you don’t take in life and the treks with Cancer Fund for Children offer an opportunity to see the world, make friends, and most importantly, support a local charity that does a great deal for children and families living with cancer.”
Do you have any future plans to do any fundraising?
Never say never…
Becky and Amy thank you so much for sharing your experience with us.
Our next overseas challenge is Trek Vietnam in 2019. If this interview has sparked your sense of adventure find out more here.