Mike’s mother Lucy died of pancreatic cancer on Christmas Eve 2020, just 6 months after her diagnosis.
“Our family were devastated by the loss of my mother and Christmas will forever be tainted by her loss,” says Mike. “I wanted to undertake a significant challenge as a tribute to such a wonderful woman and to raise money in the process. A chance encounter at a social event crystallised those thoughts when I met someone that recounted his experience of working with a specialist expedition company that organises extreme charity fundraising challenges around the world. This appealed on a number of levels and meant something positive and meaningful could come from our terrible loss and would also help other families in the future.”
He continues: “My mother was a force of nature. She was loving, vivacious, the life and soul of any party and would always be the first on the dancefloor. Among our parents’ many friends, my mum would always be the one volunteering to organise events – she was a pretty determined woman! So I want to carry on her legacy by quite literally taking that force of nature with me, into the desert!”
Mike will join a group of around 15 others on the 5-day trek, covering terrain that includes steep rocky inclines, dried river beds as well as sand dunes. They will be accompanied by a doctor, a camel, and will camp out each night.
He’s now training hard, building up his strength and stamina through regular hikes, mountain biking and gym sessions. “There’s quite a bit of a difference between the climate of North Yorkshire and the Sahara! So whilst I can’t acclimatise too much, I can get as fit as possible,” Mike says.
“I’m not daunted by the heat or the physical endurance aspects. The greatest challenge will be to keep sand out of my boots to prevent it tearing my feet to shreds. Keeping my feet in good order will be the top priority during the challenge.” he adds.
Mike has raised over £3,000 already and aims to take this above the £5,000 mark.
“My wife Steph and our children know how important this is to me and how determined I am to complete this challenge in my mother’s memory,” he says. “I know she would be really proud that I’m doing this for her and that I am playing some part in fighting the terrible disease which cut her life short.”
Mike’s online giving page is at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mike-thomson4