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The Ultimate Military Obstacle Course

I took on the ultimate military obstacle course challenge for CFT

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Hi, Gemma here community fundraiser for team North. After joining the Trust a year ago my eyes have been completely opened to the amount of amazing people there is ready to do what they can to raise funds for such an amazing cause. I have also met some of the most special people who fight day in day out to make sure having Cystic Fibrosis doesn’t stop them reaching their goals! Although I have come from a fundraising background my fundraising has always been the easiest way to fundraise, collections, parties, cake bakes, raffles etc. Until working for the Trust I have never taken on any type of physical challenge in order to raise funds. My first encounter with this was Ben Nevis! Something I always wanted to do but never really pushed myself to take part. Dealing with many supporters on a daily basis you really come to respect and appreciate the efforts they go to and that comes with an urge to take part with them. I mistakenly judged the effort involved with Ben Nevis and didn’t prepare myself at all for this challenge! Working full time and also being a Mum to my 3 year old daughter, finding the time to train become something I ignored and kind of hoped for the best. The ever eventful day arrived and within 30 minutes of starting I was already having doubts on how I would complete this challenge, although having my full health fitness have never been my strong point. It was a hard slog but sure enough 8.5 hours later and many tears in between I arrived back at the bottom, I had an amazing experience and I was shocked at how emotional I become at the top! It was a huge achievement and I was very proud to have done it to raise funds on behalf of everyone I’ve dealt with working for the Trust. It was this challenge that led me to signing up to do born survivor! Being a community fundraiser I very much take part in cake bakes, balls and everything from bingo’s to raffles, and build great relationships with our supporters. But I decided that for me to be as supportive as I can be I need to take one step further: I needed to be able to talk about our challenge events with knowledge and pride – so I need to be more involved!

I took on the ultimate military obstacle course challenge for CFT

I wanted to grab that feeling of achievement from Ben Nevis all over again but this time make sure I was well prepared! I’m normally not the outdoor type and prefer my nail extensions over muddy challenges but still I ignored my instincts and decided to rally round friends and family and build my team – ‘Beauty and the Beasts’ – to join me in my first ever Born Survivor challenge! As I am so passionate about what I do, creating awareness as well as funds the Trust has quickly become part of my friends and families lives who are always just as keen to help me raise what I can. I’ve also now have a huge local backing of supporters who took part with me. These people have their own personal connections with Cystic Fibrosis and I believe it’s my duty to be there for them getting stuck in! I know it’s not an easy challenge so this time I did some training to make sure I didn’t struggle. I did 3 to 4 high intensity training classes each week and using the treadmill 20 minutes a day 4 to 5 times a week. This has seen my fitness levels improve by the day but has also helped a great deal in my personal life, my energy levels and mood have increased dramatically and I really enjoyed the build-up to the next challenge, I have completely changed my diet to go with the training so this has also seen my loose extra Christmas pounds everyone builds up. This is a win win situation!

Although I did find the training quite hard and I had days I would rather do something else anytime I felt like quitting I thought of how having my full health enables me to do my bit to make a difference. I am not just a member of staff for the Trust I am also a keen volunteer who will work hard to support something I believe in. Towards my fundraising I held an Alice in Wonderland themed Easter children’s party. I have set myself a goal of £2000 originally and all is going with money still coming in, I know it’s more than that! I was determined to complete the challenge to the end no matter how hard or how long it takes, a passion for what I do and sheer determination will get me there knowing the difference raising the funds will make. I remember thinking, I will be the competitive one trying my hardest to beat my team with a huge smile one my face!

On the day the atmosphere was electric, the best part was seeing so many supporters wearing our branded tops with pride, ready to battle it out! Some of them I only knew from previous phone calls, so it was great to meet them in person and put a face to a name. Through the nerves and excitement in no time we were getting the ‘GO’ light; and I have to say — it was not easy! Within ten minutes I was thinking I’d made a huge mistake and wishing I was back to baking instead!"

I took on the ultimate military obstacle course challenge for CFT

"I found it extremely tough, brutal and I may have even cried at a point as I was pushed to the absolute limit of exhaustion. I really thought getting to the finish line was going to be impossible but I needed to do it for the supporters. I found motivation each time I would see another CF supporter pushing us all to do our best.

So, I dragged, ran and even crawled myself right to the finish line! But getting to the finish line with our supporters was an amazing achievement that I feel very proud of!" "I do think fundraising is about working together to achieve more and if that means getting your hands (and everything else) dirty then so be it!

Would I do this challenge again?… Ask me again when my aches, pains and bruises have gone!"

We asked again and Gemma says: "actually I’m not as bad today! It was great!" 

After all.. it’s all for a good cause.

Gemma Williamson