Image: Clouds rolling in on Kerala Mountains, India. Credit: Rosemary Dunstan
Along with 15 other walkers, librarian Rosemary set off at the beginning of November to tackle the mountains of Kerala, India. The expedition took the group across the state of Kerala and over the Western Ghats – a UNESCO-listed mountain chain spanning six states.
“Before I’d set off, people were talking about Kerala as ‘a holiday destination’,” said Rosemary. “And the trek didn’t actually look that difficult, so I thought I’d have to try and make it sound like it was a challenge. It turns out I didn’t need to try for long...”
The expedition saw the group cross from the hill station of Munnar to the village of Kottakudi, with the route taking in seven hills all higher than Ben Nevis, Britain’s tallest peak.
“We were covered in cloud most of the time and couldn’t see a thing,” said Rosemary. “We’d get soaking wet and freezing, and then would climb down the other side of a mountain only to find we were going back uphill again.”
“It was really difficult. When I told people the trek would be ‘undulating’, I had no idea exactly how steep the paths would be.”
10th year in a row supporting the ICR
Rosemary has been completing charity treks since 2001, but this is now the 10th year in a row she has chosen to support the ICR.
“Lots of friends and family have suffered in some way because of cancer, and I chose the ICR to fundraise for simply because 95% of the money goes straight into research. When you’re halfway up a mountain and trying to outrun leeches, it really does make a difference to know that your donations are going directly to the cause.”
Despite her years of fundraising, Rosemary hasn’t set her sights any lower, and this time round she is hoping to raise an incredible £2,000 to support the ICR’s pioneering research:
“By the end of the month, I think I’ll have raised just over £2,000. I’m expecting a few more donations to come in with the Christmas cards, and then I should have surpassed the target.”
Heather Lacey, Supporter Events Manager at the ICR, said she was really grateful for Rosemary’s continued support:
“We’ve made such fantastic progress in cancer research here at the ICR, but this wouldn’t have been possible without support from people like Rosemary. Thanks to her incredible efforts, and the generosity of her supporters, we can continue to make the discoveries that defeat cancer.”
And will Rosemary be embarking on another adventure?
“I’d said this would be my last trek – there were certainly times during the expedition when I thought ‘never again’ – but there is one more walk I’ve got my eye on…”
You can support Rosemary and donate to ICR research on her fundraising page:
Donate on JustGiving
If you’d like to take on a challenge to support the ICR’s pioneering research, please email [email protected]
If you have been inspired by Rosemary’s story, find out more about our sports and challenges.