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Oswestry woman treks to Machu Picchu for cancer charity

AN OSWESTRY woman travelled nearly 10,000km to one of the world’s seven wonders as she continues her fundraising efforts in aid of a pancreatic cancer charity.

Claire Haddon has spent several years raising money for Pancreatic Cancer UK, taking on various challenges including half-marathons and a climb up Snowdon.

After losing both parents to the disease in the space of less than four years, Claire has raised just short of £6,000 for the charity, and is set to continue her efforts by taking on the Great North Run in September.

Claire’s father Colin David Haddon first had the disease and died in January 2014, before her mother, Sandra Yvonne Elizabeth Haddon, died in 2017 having battled with the same disease.

With the disease having such an impact on Claire’s family, the accountant has stepped further out of her comfort zone in trekking to Machu Picchu, in the mountains of Peru, as she continues to raise awareness and money for the cause.

She said: “I wanted to do something a bit different to anything I’d done in the past, and I think in the back of my mind, Machu Picchu was something I had always wanted to do.

“I saw it on Facebook one day and just decided straight away that I was going to go there.

“Doing things like this allows me to raise money and awareness and to give something back to help the cause and also remember my mum and dad too.

“Being able to do things like this brings the issue to the forefront – it’s quite eye-opening to see how many people have been affected by it.

“On top of that, it makes me train and work towards doing something.”

The trek consisted of more than 35 hours of walking over the course of a five day journey to reach the famous site.

“It was a very good experience. I was very nervous when it came to doing it,” she said.

“I went out with 17 people who I hadn’t met before I got to the airport so that was quite different.

“Every person on the trek has been affected personally or knew someone who had been affected by pancreatic cancer. I got to know people who have endured similar experiences to myself in the past, so we were all in the same boat.

“The group ranged from 14 to 65 years of age.

“Once we got out there, we had an acclimatisation trek to get used to the altitude – we were already about 2,000 feet above sea level on arrival – the highest level we reached was 4400 feet.”

Despite the difficulty of the challenge, Claire spoke highly of the experience and hopes to continue her fundraising work for the charity in the coming years.

Claire added: “When we got to the sun gate on the Thursday and saw the famous view over Machu Picchu, it made it all worth it – it was absolutely amazing and emotional.

“It was very difficult, some days it became a case of just trying to put one foot in front of the other quite literally. The altitude made it hard – I had daily headaches and one day of feeling nauseous, some of the others weren’t affected much and others were affected a lot more.

“Looking back, it was something I loved doing and so glad I did, but I can’t say I’ll be rushing to do something like that again. But it was called charity challenge for a reason!

“I’m very proud to have done it.

“It’s the hardest challenge I’ve ever done, certainly different to running a half marathon!

“Not many people can say they’ve done it so I’m very chuffed to have done it.

“I want to continue raising money and awareness for the cause in various other ways going forward, and my next challenge is the Great North Run in September.”

To donate to the charity and support Claire in her efforts, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/claire-haddon15 or https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/claire-haddon153