Tag Archives: mt kilimanjaro

The morning after…

What a night! The bands were all fantastic. The crowd were great. Everyone seemed to have a good time. A quick count suggests we raised about €600 which is brilliant. Thanks a million to everyone who played, helped out and to all those who came. There will be photos so watch this space.

The winning raffle tickets were 318, 110, 349 and 374. Only the weekend away was collected. So check your ticket and let me know if it’s yours. There is still a TV Media Player, Steve Jobs Biography and a bottle of wine in a very nice box here to collect.

Thanks again everyone.


The Kilimanjaro Rock Event

It’s all confirmed! The rock event of the year will take place in The Gypsy Rose Rock and Blues Bar on Friday 24th February.

It’s looking like it’s going to be a fantastic night featuring some excellent Irish rock bands including The DC Experiment and Big September and acoustic sets by Derek Flynn and The Fendermen and even some comedy squeezed in too.

Tickets cost €10 and will be available at the door on the night. They can also be prebooked from tickets.ie from early next week. Doors open 7.30pm. There will be a raffle on the night with loads of excellent prizes including a weekend break away for two.

All funds raised on the night will go towards the target amount for my Climb for Prem Babies.

It’s promising to be a great evening for anyone with rock music in their soul and it really is for a great cause so please come along and don’t forget to invite your friends because ultimately it’ll be the crowd that will make it a night to remember. Please share, like and retweet this to death too.

I’d like to take this opportunity to offer a huge thank you to all the artists who are giving their time and talents to be part of this and to our hosts at The Gypsy Rose.

Update 13 February 2012
As if we didn’t have enough already, I’m delighted to add The Kartels and Machine Gun Baby (MGB) to the line up at the event. I’m getting very excited about it now – hope you can all come along. Tickets are now available from Tickets.ie

The Only Way is Up

Just a quick update on how things are going:

Thanks to two healthy donations this weekend my current fundraising total is at €1200. This is almost a quarter of the way there. I really appreciate all donations that have been made so far. It’s starting to look like I might actually do it 🙂

The line-up for the fundraising gig should be confirmed over the next day or two. Watch this space. There’ll be a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party for kiddies in March. I’m hoping to get a Saturday of bag packing in a grocery store and sell everything I own at a car boot sale. All volunteers welcome. Especially with the bag packing, not many bags can one woman pack.Some very kind people are also running marathons and holding coffee mornings on my behalf. Every Euro counts too so please keep the donations coming at Jenny Climbs Kili

I can walk miles now. I’ve been walking most days around the rather flat Dublin 15 and working out the others with an aerobic/resistance DVD. This weekend we climbed The Sugarloaf in Wicklow which was surprisingly easy. You should try it. I was sorry I didn’t take my kids. They would have loved it. We made it up and down in under two hours and I still had the energy to go grocery shopping afterwards.

I was also convinced to confront my trepidation of heights by jumping off a tower onto a zipline at Rathbeggan Lakes All in all I’m learning a lot through this challenge. I’ve learned that I hate asking people for money and favours but when I actually get up the guts to do it people are surprisingly generous. I’ve learned that many members of the music industry prefer to conduct their business between the hours of midnight and 3am. I’ve learned that if you jump off a building with a rope attached to you there’s a good chance you won’t hit the ground and most eye-opening to me is that I’ve learned that any mountain can be climbed if you just keep going one step at a time. I still have the tallest one to put that theory to the test though 🙂

Again, thank you all so much for your support. I and the charity Irish Premature Babies are very very grateful.

Our First Mountain

Last Saturday, three of us that will be doing the climb for prem babies bit the bullet and went on a hill walk to see how we’d cope. It crossed my mind as I was driving up through the Wicklow Mountains that these mountains looked huge and they’re only about a tenth of the size of Mt Kilimanjaro. It was very cold and more than a little windy but otherwise quite a pleasant day. We chose the red trail which has a 490m elevation and decided to take the gradual climb up as that will be closest to what we will be doing on Kili.

It all went very well in the beginning. Grace, Ger and I got on well and there was much chit chat as we ambled up. After about half an hour it became clear that I was wearing too many clothes and I started peeling off layers. We continued up. It was tough on the old legs but not unmanageable. We took a break after about 90 minutes and figured that we must be near enough to the top. How happy we were we had this hillwalking lark nailed.

Off we set again. After a while, we started getting tired. How much more up could there be? There didn’t appear to be anything above us but still the path ascended. We met some hikers coming the other way and asked them. ‘Oh not much more, the path turns to sleepers a little bit on and there’s a little bit of a climb but it’s all downhill from there.’ Grand. The path turned to sleepers and split. We considered not going the rest of the way up and taking the yellow trail that went down instead but it was so windy and so steep that we reconsidered and went up…and up…and up.

The wind was unbelievably strong where we were exposed and parts of the walk got very scary. We were blown off the sleepers a few times by strong gusts. At one point, I was clinging on to a gorse bush so as not to get blown away. The views were spectacular but we were starting to get worried by the strength of the wind and didn’t stop to take many photos.

Eventually the sleepers started to descend. It was after 3pm at this stage and I was getting concerned about the people we were meeting walking the opposite direction. Many of them didn’t appear dressed for the trek and it had taken us over 3hrs to get where we were. Wouldn’t it be dark before they got down? We just kept on going. We passed what looked like a fantastic viewing point but it was far too windy to go out and view from it. Finally, we came to steps – a lot of steps. I discovered later that there was over 6oo of them. I was very glad we were going down and not up them. The thoughts of coffee and cake kept us going. At 4.30, almost 5hrs after we’d set off we made it to the warmth of the hotel for our prize.

This is what I learned from the trek.
1. Furry hats are too warm, hoods are good to keep wind out of ears.
2. Waterproof trousers and boots rock.
3. Jersey cotton is not a good base layer. I was soaked through from sweat and began to get cold almost as soon as we sat down.
4. Tea from a flask tastes good on cold mountains.
5. Check the weather before you set off.
6. You can get anywhere if you just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

All in all it was a great day. I had fun and felt like I’d achieved something. My legs weren’t too achy the next day either. We’re planning some more practice treks before the big climb in June. I still have a good bit of fundraising to do too so please sponsor me here on the Jenny Climbs Kili My Charity page.

Thanks again for all the support.

Keeping parents and babies together.

A few years ago at a La Leche League conference I had the privilege of hearing Dr Nils Bergman speak. In his talk he outlined the history of incubators and spoke of how they began as Dr. Martin Couney’s “Incubator Baby Exhibits” in a freakshow in Coney Island. He spoke of his clinic and his research in Third World countries and the amazing outcomes of Kangaroo Mother care as opposed to Western incubators. He described how simply being against their mothers’ chests stabilised babies’ heartrates, breathing, and temperature – babies born as prematurely as 24 weeks. More on this research can be found on the Irish Premature Babies site.

Some of the images and what seemed to me radical ideas in his presentation never left me. One statement stayed with me too. ‘In no published paper is a single adverse outcome reported for Kangaroo Mother Care’ Then I began to listen to the parents of premature babies in Ireland. Time and time again I heard ‘I was discharged but baby was kept in for weeks.’ This just feels wrong to me. I have been blessed with two full term healthy babies and the physical need to have them constantly close to me in those early weeks was overpowering. I discovered that in Ireland there are currently not enough facilities to keep parents close to their premature infants. Instead, mothers are sent home with an industrial electric breastpump and a photo. All of Ireland’s neo natal intensive care units are in Dublin. Many parents have travelled for hours everyday to be with their sick babies, some have slept in their cars. Others have sold all their valuables to pay for private accommodation. This is a very sad situation that I would love to be able to wave a magic wand and change.

Unfortunately, I don’t possess a working magic wand but when I saw that the charity CHY19532 Irish Premature Babies was organising a group to climb Mt Kilimanjaro to raise funds to address this situation and also to raise awareness of the problem, I jumped on board. It will be a hard slog up that mountain but nothing compared to the hard slog our tiniest babies have to simply survive and their parents have just to cope. Please support my climb by donating here or through the buttons on the right of this post. All donations are much appreciated. You can also sign a petition to increase awareness of the problem here. I would also like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has donated so far and supported me by offering their time and by sharing this blog.

The Machame Route

I’m not sure if it’s a good idea for me to watch these things or not. At least there is no evidence of baked beans. 😉

This is the route we will be taking but as it will be June the weather will be different and there is likely to be snow at the summit.

Thank you so much for all your donations so far. Still a long way to go though. Just click the button on the right to support my climb. Irish Premature Babies CHY19532 and I are very grateful for all your support.

We have lift off!

This was my first actual donation! Received around 1am on 26th November. Even better – it was quickly followed by another matching one online. Another 480 like this and I’m done 🙂

There is more excellent news though:
A good friend and excellent baker has very kindly offered to host a coffee morning on my behalf after Christmas. Fundraising help and cake – win win.

My lovely husband has donated a mini weekend break at the Silverbirch hotel in Omagh that he won. I will probably use this as a raffle prize at an event.

And I have a few meetings lined up this week for corporate sponsorship. Will keep you posted how they go. If you could visit this blog often and share it around it will help me a lot with these.

If you would like to donate you can use the button to the right or at my charity page

Again, thank you so much for your support. People are so great!

The Fears

I would be lying if I said nothing about this project  terrifies me. When I’ve told people who know me what I’m planning to do they have had either of two reactions; the first is, ‘Wow, that will be amazing!’, the second is, ‘Have you gone completely mad?’ Having initially been on the first celebratory positive side myself, the second set of realists have started to make me question myself a little. These are thoughts that have struck me late at night, lying in the dark when the worries worm in:

1. Will I have to eat baked beans?

I HATE baked beans. You know the ones, in the turquoise can with the sticky orange lavaesque sauce. I hate the taste, I hate the smell and I hate the sight of them. I’m not great with any types of beans really for the simple reason that the texture of them reminds me too much of the offensive ones. I won’t have them cooked in my house in my presence and woe betide anyone who cooks them while I’m out and fails to wash the pot or plates. When I order a cooked breakfast, Irish or English, I try to make it very clear that I do not want baked beans in case there is any confusion. It is not enough for me to just push the beans to the side, nor is it acceptable to me to have the beans scraped off as certain establishments have offered to do (horrified face!). It is not even good enough for me that they remove the other breakfast components and serve them to me on a clean plate because  if there is even the teeniest smudge of bean juice on a sausage, that sausage and anything it has been in contact with is bean tainted and so lost to me. In fact, even if there isn’t an obvious bean contamination, I find it so hard to trust that there isn’t that I won’t enjoy it for my compulsive scrutinizing. You get the point. I can’t stand them. So half way up the tallest freestanding mountain in the world, on campers’ rations, after a day’s trekking, in desperate need of protein and carbohydrates, what on earth will I do if baked beans turns out to be all that is on offer to eat?

2. Will there be creepy crawlies?

Being a mother of two boys, I have been exposed to a fair few insects. I have had to learn to tone down the hysterical screaming and running on the spot that the mere sight of an earwig used to evoke in me to a cool ‘Could you take that outside please because I’m very silly and even though I know that that caterpillar can’t hurt me, I’m still a little bit scared of it.’  Then I remove myself to another room and let the frantic head scratching and shoulder shuddering commence in private. I’ve lived in countries frequented by cockroaches, the absolute creepiest of all the crawlies, and I have fearfaced enough to be able to control myself within a distance of about 2m from one without completely freaking out. Any closer than that though and the manical jumping on tables and incontrollable shrieking and pointing begins. Mt Kilimanjaro is in Africa. There are insects like this:

and this:

and much much unimaginably worse. I will be sleeping in a tent on the ground at night and wandering through rainforests during the day. D’ya think I’m going to manage to stay within my 2m comfort zone? Hmmm.

3. Will I manage to raise the funds?

It’s €5000. I’ve to raise €5000. So far I’ve raised a grand total of …zero. As my 4 year old helpfully pointed out a few days ago ‘Zero means nothing at all!’ So help me out here. Hit that donate button to the right. Any little amount will help and encourage me. There’s a My Charity page if you prefer at JennyclimbsKili It really is a worthy cause. All babies need their parents with them. Tiny, sick, too-early to this world ones need them even more. Not just for their comfort and peace of mind but for their health; to help stabilise their breathing and heart rate by their mothers’ very presence. Let’s try to take some of the financial pressure off parents in this situation at least.

You can  also help by sharing this blog around the Internet. If I can get a decent amount of traffic on it some local companies might be prepared to sponsor me in return for a banner or a mention.

I really do appreciate all the support.

Thank you,