Susie Boreham, 64 and her sister-in-law Sandra Smith, 64, from Chelmsford will spend 10 days in November trekking the remote and beautiful hills of Northern Vietnam in the Pù Luông Nature Reserve to raise money for Essex’s only children’s hospice, Little Havens.
Since 2016, the hospice – which relies heavily on donations to provide its care services – has been a lifeline for Susie’s granddaughter Evie, 12 who has CDKL5, an extremely rare genetic condition which affects her neurological development. Little Havens provides much-needed care for their family including respite for Susie’s daughter Sarah, Evie’s mum, who describes the hospice as her ‘comfort blanket’.
As soon as Susie learnt about the experience the charity was offering, she jumped straight at the chance. She said: “As soon as I saw it advertised I know I had to do it – giving back to help all the families that attend Little Havens and also a tick a bucket list adventure off which had been on my mind for a long time. I just had to find a partner to take with me, so I asked Sandra who has always been amazingly supportive and has wiped away a few tears in the past.”
This isn’t the first time the sisters-in-law have helped support the charity which provides palliative and supportive care to children and young people across Essex. Susie’s family have participated in numerous fundraisers including the family business R.C Boreham taking on the annual Race4Business event and earlier this year, Susie and Sandra both volunteered to collect used Christmas Trees as part of the charity’s Christmas Tree Collection service helping to raise thousands of pounds.
Susie and Sandra, who have already beaten their incredible £3,000 fundraising target thanks to sponsorship from family and friends, are looking forward to exploring the nature reserve which is located on two parallel mountain ridges and offers visitors a unique range of experiences and landscapes. Covering over 170km², it’s home to 600 animal, bird, and reptile species and over 1000 species of plant but they aren’t underestimating how difficult walking for five days in a hot climate will be.
Susie said: “We know how hard it will be – it’s going to be so hot and totally out of our comfort zone with no home comforts. It will be emotional but so rewarding, we know the money we raise will make such a difference to other families like ours. We have been training as much as we possibly can.”
After trekking for five days, for the second part of their trip they will be assisting a local community hospital by working on a palliative care project which involves helping carry out tasks such as painting, gardening and refurbishing which will make a huge difference to the local hospital.
With only four months to go, they are both very grateful for all the support they have had so far and know how much it means to all the families who have been told there is no cure for their child’s illness. Susie finishes, “We’re a couple of old(ish) girls going on a trip of a lifetime to help the lives of such special children and their families. It’s not a situation you want to be in but let’s make it a tiny bit easier for those who are. If you are able to support us by making a donation to this incredible cause we will be so grateful, every little helps.”
To support Susie and Sandra on their fundraising trip of a lifetime visit www.justgiving.com/susieandsandravietnamtrek
Published 9th August 2022