Great Wall of China Trek 2012
Posted on: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
by Tony Kinson
One of our supporters, Denise Morgan, has written about her hearing loss and why she decided to go on the Great Wall of China trek to raise funds for us.
Read Denise’s training and fundraising tips, as she prepared for the trek.
No treatment was offered
At nine years old, after a school medical, I was sent for a hearing test and my family were told that I had a perforated eardrum. My grandfather and my mother both had this condition but doctors advised that it was not hereditary.
No treatment was offered and it was only at the age of 20, when I started to have balance problems that further investigations revealed a very large perforation and I was offered an operation to fix it. This stopped the balance issues but the small bones which conduct the sound had fused together meaning that the repair would not solve my hearing problem.
As I got older this got worse, particularly if I was in noisy crowded areas with lots of background noise. I remembered that people had thought my Grandfather was unfriendly and withdrawn, when in fact he was just hard of hearing.
From then on, whenever I was introduced to someone new or was in a meeting or dinner with someone sat on my right hand side, I always told them that I couldn't hear very well and that if I ignored them it was just because I hadn't heard them speaking.
My mum and I were deaf in opposite ears and I knew when she hadn't heard me because she would just smile and nod!
Keen traveller and walker
On my 60th birthday I decided I would celebrate by setting myself a challenge. When I read about the Great Wall of China trek it seemed just the thing for me. A keen traveller and walker, I had been to China before and had some experience of what it would be like and how difficult some of the steep climbs could be - but hey, it's not a challenge if it's easy going.
The more I read about Action on Hearing Loss, the more I wished I'd known about them earlier and how they could have helped me and my family.
Once I'd told my family and friends and they'd all stopped laughing at my crazy idea, they were fantastic and responded to my sponsorship requests very quickly.
I set up a JustGiving page (open in new window) and even joined Facebook in order to keep everyone updated on how the training and fund raising was going.
Beautiful Yorkshire coast
I uploaded photographs of the beautiful Yorkshire coast which was my training area. I have a small business and contacted all of my business contacts for sponsorship. I turned up at networking groups dressed in my charity t-shirt and walking gear, with a basket full of fortune cookies for sale and put a collection box in my local pub.
I wore my charity t-shirt to the gym and handed out details of my challenge to other gym members. I used my company websites to advertise my challenge to my customers.
My target was £1000. I've beaten that and I'm hoping for more to come as the trek gets going and I keep everyone updated with photos and a journal.
Training on the coastal path has been great as there are lots of steep climbs. My target was to be up there 3 days a week with a minimum of 4 hours walking, building up to 7 just before the challenge with a couple of short gym sessions each week.
The weather wasn't always great and I kept my sponsors entertained with photographs of me looking like a scarecrow up on the wet and windy cliff top. When the weather was good, the scenery was stunning and I enjoyed being out in the fresh air.
Crossing the finishing line
My final training walk was 16 miles on a charity walk for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People (open in new window) which was fantastic as we had some of those wonderful dogs walking with us.
Action on Hearing Loss sent me loads of information to help with my fundraising and their logo to put on my company website, Facebook and Twitter.
I can't wait to get off the beaten track and see some parts of China that other tourists never get to see. But most of all I'm looking forward to crossing the finish line knowing that I've done the best I can to fulfil my own personal challenge and raise money for Action on Hearing Loss who support people in the UK with hearing loss.
Go on the Trek in 2013
You can get in touch with our fundraising team for a chat or to register with us and we'll send you a free event brochure. This doesn't commit you but will tell you everything you need to know about the 2013 Great Wall of China trek.
Other ways to fundraise
There are loads of ways you can get involved and help raise funds for Action on Hearing Loss. From running and sports events, treks and bike rides to cake bakes and collections, we have something for everyone!