FIGHTING back from a serious injury can be an uphill task, writes Neil Bracegirdle.
Steph Gooby, from Second Avenue in Sudbury, is hoping to recover from tearing two tendons and ligaments in her right ankle in time to trek up Mount Kilimanjaro – the highest peak in Africa.
The 21-year-old is looking to negotiate the 5,895-metre mountain in Tanzania to raise funds for Childreach International – a charity founded to help provide education, healthcare and protection to children in the developing world – but knows she faces a stiff challenge.
“I have never done anything like this before and many of my friends can’t believe I’m doing it,” she said.
“But I never thought I would get the opportunity to do something like this and that’s why I jumped at the chance.”
Steph, who is in her final year studying chemistry at the University of East Anglia, had been due to take on the ascent next month but an ankle injury sustained playing korfball – a sport featuring a mixture of netball and basketball – has delayed her plans.
She is now set to take on the climb next June and is aiming to raise the £3,000 needed to complete the trip by August.
“I was determined to do the climb this year but I only had surgery on my ankle in February,” said Steph. “I hope it will be better in time.”
As part of a 10-day trip, Steph will spend three days in the village of Moshi teaching children English, before taking on a five-day trek to Kilimanjaro’s summit.
“It will be great spending time in the village for such a good cause and I think this is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” she said.
Steph has already raised more than £800, largely thanks to AFC Sudbury, where her mum, Marilyn, works at grassroots level.
“The club has been excellent and shown a lot of support,” said Marilyn. “I think it is marvellous what Steph is doing and I’m very proud of her.”
q To sponsor Steph, visit www.mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/stephgooby.