Woman prepares to climb Mount Kilimanjaro for Leeds hospice

A woman is set to climb one of the world’s tallest mountains this month to raise funds for the Leeds hospice that cared for her brother’s best friend.  

Zubie Chaston, 38, who lives in Edinburgh, is travelling thousands of miles to Tanzania in a bid to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in aid of Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice.

The special fundraising challenge is in memory of Gemma Sisson-Moore, her brother Daniel’s best friend, who received care at the Headingley hospice before she died in July 2020 aged 39. 

“I never met Gemma but I’d heard so much about her over the years,” said Zubie. “So when she was admitted to Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice and Daniel and her friends decided to start a fundraising campaign, I said I would join them.

“I wanted to support Daniel as I could see what he was going through and how much it was affecting him. This is important to me because it’s important to my brother.”

Zubie had initially planned to climb Kilimanjaro in June 2020, but unfortunately, it had to be postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Undeterred, she completed the distance virtually – walking 18,500 steps every day for a week in Jersey.

When it was postponed for the second time the following year, Zubie continued to persevere with her fundraising efforts and completed the National Three Peaks Challenge – climbing the three highest peaks of Scotland, England and Wales, within 24 hours.

It is now third time lucky for the keen adventurer – who will start her seven-day Kilimanjaro expedition on the 25th June.

“It’s been a long time coming, but Kilimanjaro is definitely happening this time! The flights are booked and I am really excited,” says Zubie, who gave birth to her second child just 16 weeks ago.

“I had a caesarean which has provided an extra challenge in terms of preparing for this challenge, but I am really fortunate that we live close to a range of mountains so every -Sunday morning I have been out walking and I have been seeing a personal trainer five days a week.

“To be honest I think I’m looking forward to the 10-hour flight to catch up on some sleep! I am lucky to have such a supportive family and there’s no way I wasn’t going to do this – it’s the right thing to do.”

Over the last two years, Zubie has raised £3,500 for Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice and has also made a pledge to shave her head when she reaches the £5,000. Zubie and brother Daniel have plans to further boost their fundraising by taking on the Ben Nevis at Night charity trek together in 2023.

Michelle Darbyshire, Community Fundraiser, said: “We never cease to be amazed by the lengths that people will go to support our hospice, especially in memory of Gemma whose story has touched so many people.   

“Zubie has gone above and beyond over the last few years and we’re delighted that she is finally able to complete the challenge she set out to do back in 2020. The money she has raised, and continues to raise, will make an enormous difference in helping us to continue providing the expert and compassionate care we are so well known for.”

To sponsor Zubie, visit: justgiving.com/fundraising/zubie-chaston

Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice provides expert palliative care, advice and support to people living with life-limiting conditions, as well as supporting their families. For more information, visit: sueryder.org/wheatfields.

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