Three Newtownabbey dog lovers are counting down the days until they undertake an adventure of a lifetime!
Des McClune is part of a team that will be trekking to Everest base camp to raise money for Guide Dogs NI.
His wife Barbara and another local lady, Catherine Craig, will be providing ground support and assistance to an orphanage.
The intrepid bunch will leave the UK on October 7, flying more than 4,500 miles to Kathmandu and then on to the town of Lukla in the north-east of Nepal.
Over the course of 11 days, Des will hike at altitude through some of the highest inhabited places in the world. The tough 115km challenge is in aid of a cause very close to their hearts. The group is made up of staff, volunteers and friends of Guide Dogs NI and everyone is self-funding their trip. They have a fundraising target of £10,000 and every penny raised will go towards naming and sponsoring two guide dog puppies.
The puppies will be called Hillary (after famous Everest conqueror Edmund Hillary) and Munro, after Guide Dogs’ Puppy Training Supervisor Kath Munro.
Des said: “We’ve been training for this once-in-a-lifetime trip for months and now it’s just around the corner! I can’t wait to experience sunrise over the Khumbu Glacier and getting to the top of the Kala Patther to soak up the view of Everest’s summit.
“There will undoubtedly be times when the challenge seems too much but I’ll be reminding myself of the challenges faced every day by people living with sight loss and how the puppies we’ll be supporting will help them live life to the full.”
Lesley Macauley, Community Fundraising Development Manager at Guide Dogs NI, added: “Guide Dogs relies almost completely on donations to keep our life-changing services running. When you consider it costs around £56,000 to support a guide dog from birth to retirement, it becomes clear why fundraising is so crucial. We’re so delighted that the team are taking on this amazing challenge in support of Guide Dogs NI and we wish them all the best for their adventure!”
To make a donation to the Everest trekkers, please visit www.mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/kathmunro1.