Mental Health Together is all about people. People, coming together to help and support people. People are at the heart of everything we do. We'd like to share with you some of the inspirational stories from our amazing people.

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The Great WallTurning 50, I decided I wanted to mark the occasion by doing something adventurous that I would remember for years to come. A chance conversation found me looking at a challenge to walk the Great Wall of China for Myton Hospices which would mean raising money, getting fit and arranging visas, kit and vaccinations before leaving. My husband Darren, thought I was mad but agreed to come with me to the initial meeting where they painted a picture of breathtaking scenery, local traditions, personal achievement and much more. We were sold and paid our deposit.

Fast forward 16 months and off we set with 23 other travellers, 2 guides and a doctor to start our 6 day trek. The first two days found us trekking in Gubeiko and Jinshanling on remote parts of the Wall not usually open to tourists. These were untouched and gave us some amazing views of the vast green countryside. We seemed to go up and up for hours with the occasional down as the wall snaked through the countryside. The temperatures ranged between 35 - 41 degrees and we had to carry all of our water with us as there was very little shade. We stopped in quaint villages and rural homesteads which were basic but welcoming and provided much needed food and showers after 8 hours trekking each day.
Moving into the more tourist areas and into Mutianyu we found the reconstructed parts with very steep climbs and descents which covered 27 towers and several thousand steps, culminating in the Heavenly Ladder which is a near vertical climb.

China exceeded my expectations in every way. One of my favourite parts was when I ran along part of the rural track and looked back and could see no one, only blue skies and green hills and I had a moment of appreciation for everything. Emotionally there were highs and lows, some members found it physically difficult with the terrain and the amount of walking we were doing and others found it hard remembering why we were doing it, to raise money for Myton Hospice who had cared for their loved ones. The celebration at the end of the challenge saw tears of relief for some and the realisation that our shared experience had been as much a part of the journey as the Wall itself. The support for each other had carried us through and we had done it.

If you would like to support our fundraising you can donate at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sam-sharpe50

Supporting MytonSam and Darren