Clare Brown

Clare Brown

Location

Brundall

Condition

Ovarian cancer

What happened

Clare decided to trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu to raise money for Big C after her mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in November 2009.
 
“I was watching TV not long after Mum’s diagnosis, and I saw a programme featuring Denise Van Outen and a number of ladies who had breast cancer. They were doing the trek to raise breast cancer awareness. It was very inspiring and I thought: “If they can do it - especially when they are ill or are recovering from cancer – I’m sure I could do that too and raise money.”
 
I am the kind of person who has an idea and then just goes right out and does it - I booked the flight and the trip for September 2011.
 
To help train, I joined a gym to get my fitness levels better three months beforehand and I regularly walk my dogs.
 
“There are two trails you can take to Machu Picchu - you arrive at a certain point on the trail and it splits in two. One way takes six hours and the other one - the one I and the friend with me took - takes four days. Our guide explained that the four day trail was the one the Incas took to purify themselves before arriving at the temple.
 
“There were about 16 people in the group. It was very hard work, along very difficult terrain. Machu Picchu is 7970 feet above sea level and we were walking through mountains which, at the highest pass, was over 4100m above sea level. This meant we were also contending with altitude sickness, although I was quite lucky and only became slightly ill on the final day of the trek.
 
“Every day we would climb, reach the place we thought we were going and then there would still be more. We would give our baggage to the guides and they would run ahead - actually run, which is astonishing - and build camp so that everything was ready for when we reached them. In the evening all you wanted to do was collapse.
 
“I finally reached Machu Picchu on September 24 - Mum’s birthday - as I had planned, and it was incredibly beautiful and well worth the journey. The trek was an amazing experience. I have been lucky enough to do a fair amount of travelling and I have seen quite a lot of the world, but Peru was without a doubt the most incredible place I have seen.
 
“I raised £3070 for Big C, which I am delighted with - I was aiming for £2000.”