Posted 23/01/2020

The Journey of a Lifetime

My successful trek to the South Pole!

WOW, what a challenge!

Back on home turf in London, and with a broken toe, numb fingers, severely blistered feet, and very achy muscles, I am hugely proud of the whole team, what we achieved and how much money we raised to tackle brain tumours.

Thanks to your donations I have personally raised over £110,000 for The Brain Tumour Charity and as a team we have raised over £300K. Just knowing how many lives this money will change, makes the pain and hard work worth it.

Truly a journey I’ll never forget

Headsouth team arrive at Union Glacier Antarctica

Headsouth team sledges ready to go

Touchdown at 89 degrees Antarctica

From spending 3 hours every morning and evening boiling snow to rehydrate our food and to create safe drinking water, to sleeping in tents that were consistently minus 25 degrees!

Each day we had to spend time organising our sleds, making sure the weight was distributed evenly and that we didn’t leave anything behind to spoil the beautiful but harsh landscape.

Headsouth Challenge: day-to-day life

Some days we would be trekking in beautiful crisp, sunny, blue skies at a balmy -25 degrees, and others we endured weather fronts with winds and a skin-biting -47 degrees.

One day we were even chased by a weather front, you could actually see the storm clouds rolling in behind us! The storm was as high as a skyscraper! Luckily our very experienced expedition leaders Alan Chambers and Wayne Hoyle timed our stopping place for the evening perfectly, and we were bedded down in the tents, with a double 5-foot snow wall around each tent to protect us.

Storm weather front rolling in

By day 10 of trekking, our expedition was taking its toll on the team. We had 5 serious cases of blisters, 3 cases of chafing, 2 cases of snow blindness, an exploding tooth and one of our team had to be rescued after falling ill with hyperthermia just 3 miles from the Pole! I was suffering with the cold, my beard had frozen, my fingers had frostbite and I’d forgotten what it felt like to have little toes.

But finally after 12 days of trekking 6-8 miles a day, walking/skiing for 8 hours, we made it to the South Pole!

Headsouth team arrive at the South Pole!

What a feeling!

It was a surreal moment standing at the South Pole, the most southerly point on the planet and knowing we’d made it.

I am proud and privileged to be part of this team that’s pushed itself to the absolute limit both mentally and physically, and achieved a very rare goal.

The money we’ve raised will fund The Brain Tumour Charity’s Tessa-Jowell BRAIN-MATRIX, a first-of-its-kind clinical trial that will enable doctors to treat brain tumours with drugs that are more targeted than ever before.

So thank you to all those who spurred us on and a huge thank you to those who so generously donated, which made it all worthwhile.

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