A Co Tyrone woman took to climbing one of the ancient wonders of the world recently, raising thousands for a local mental health charity after the sudden death of a friend.
Jessica Crilly, 29 from Cookstown trekked to the top of Machu Picchu in Peru earlier this month, raising more than 12,000 for Aware NI in memory of Leigh McCracken from the Co Tyrone town.
She completed the four day trek with friends Grace and Cara, and described it as the ‘ultimate challenge’ for a good cause.
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“It was an unbelievable experience from start to finish, but the ultimate challenge in so many ways,” Jessica told MyTyrone.
It started with four flights to get there, which was tough going. We had a couple of days in Cusco that included an acclimatized hike to get us ready for altitudes of 4300m on the Inca trail.
“We took off on a four day trek along the Inca trail to Machu Picchu camping each night which was an experience in itself.
“The trek challenged me in every way physically and mentally, it was so tough at times and with many tears shed I got there in the end.
“I have never experienced anything like it, I can’t describe the feeling of reaching the sun gate to Machu Picchu on the final day. The most beautiful place on the planet with an incredible story. “
Jessica thanked all those from the local community and further afield who donated to the fundraiser, and highlighted the importance of looking after our mental health.
“We have received incredible support from friends, family and the community,” Jessica added.
“People have been so generous in making donations & getting involved in our fundraising, it’s mad how kind people are especially in difficult times like these.
“It’s class to know that all our efforts collectively will give people the opportunity to get help and support for their mental health and potentially change their lives.
“I believe that everyone will go through some sort of struggle with mental health in life, whether it’s big or small.
“So when it comes to mental health something just clicks with me, I feel a sense of responsibility to raise awareness and funds for the cause and remind everyone of the help that is available.”
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