By Tristan Harris 24/05 Updated: 29/05 11:19
A FUND-RAISING campaign, which has included a variety of events and a trek of the Great Wall of China, has raised more than £27,000 for Aplastic Anaemia.
The Trek for Owen was undertaken in memory of Owen Evans, a nine-year-old pupil at Beaconside Primary School in Rubery, who lost his battle with the condition last year.
Owen became ill in August with hepatitis and was treated at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, before being discharged four weeks later.
Within two weeks, Owen was re-admitted with a low blood count and, after being diagnosed with Aplastic Anaemia, he bravely faced every biopsy, tranfusion and operation given to him.
But on November 16, three months after falling ill, Owen lost his brave fight and died in his mum’s arms, with his dad by his side.
On May 12, Owen’s mum Sue Evans, his headteacher Paul Freear and family friend Lexi Sutton, embarked on their five-day trip.
Here is their day-to-day diary they kept whilst undertaking their fantastic feat:
Day 1 -Badaling Great Wall
Today’s first day trekking saw us in Badaling area on an unrestored wall, 10,232 steps and gale force winds. The Trek took us about five hours and was a real warm up for our legs.
Tomorrow's trek begins with a picturesque walk in Dragons Pool national Heritage park… Yay lovely…. Then we were told the second part is harder than today’s…. Ouch ouch ouch! Three watchtowers with crumbly scary paths (no sides) along the way!
We are all feeling the walk today and relaxing tonight in readiness for tomorrow. We are currently planning what we can take out of our rucksacks to make them lighter… And hopefully it will be less windy.
Day 2 - Dragon Pools National Park and Wall
Day two completed and we ache! Walk through the national park to start and then up a very step track on the side of a mountain to the top… We have found muscles we didn’t know we had.
Then we stopped for lunch and then back down the wall… Well the crumbling remains of the wall which was more like rock climbing… often on hands and bottoms…
Just the six hours trekking today in 28 degrees…
Day 3 - Gubeikou Wall
Started today with an hour and half transfer to the start point where we were greeted by three ‘hello’ people (these ladies trek with us for hours – offer to carry your stuff etc… and expect payment at some point with you buying souvenirs…).
We trekked up hills for what seemed like an age and then finally got on the wall to start the major trek. There were parts of this that were hard and then parts that were really really hard and some bits that were just bloomin scary… Sheer drops and climbing rocks with packs and sticks is not something any training up the Lickeys has helped with
The views have been amazing today… it took the sting out of the walk. We had views of Mongolia and China…
We ended on the Jinshaling part of the walk where we start again tomorrow… Total trekking time today was eight hours.
We hurt, but, to be honest, it’s been the hardest day so far but the group are amazing – no one is left alone.
Day 4 - Jinshanling Loop
The day started with a steep stair climb to the wall and guess what… loads more hills and steps. We walked through 22 watchtowers in 30 degree heat (where we seem to walk closer to the sun) – the paths were steep and rocky but we made it through.
Day 5 – Mutianyu Section – Heavens Stairway
Today we endured 30 degrees heat at 10am and there was not a breeze in sight!
To begin we had the small matter of 1,000 steps – and that is just to get us on the wall!
We then had to walk up and down through ten watch towers.. can't describe how hard it is to do this with the backpack and water for the day and walking poles in oppresive heat!
We were then shown the final part of our challenge (or so they say) – Heaven's Stairway. This is basically what it says on the tin – loads, loads and loads more steep steps up to a platform with the Chinese flag standing proud.
Onwards we went up, up and up! We played Owen’s anthem - Queen's 'Dont Stop Me Now’ - on the final ascent and we made it!!!
One by one we climbed the final stairs and got our medal from Sarah, the team leader. The team there before us were clapping and cheering everyone through!
The sense of achievement is overwhelming…
We have completed the challenge and EVERYONE was still smiling.
Challenge complete. No blisters for each of us, but Sue is nearly minus one toenail - not bad really.
The team we were with are amazing - could not have asked for a better group…
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