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transtec employee on fundraiser hike to Mount Kilimanjaro. Join us in our support!

transtec employee Mark Allsopp will embark on a very special journey by the end of January 2016. He will trek to the Kilimanjaro summit and participate in a charity effort to raise funds for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Global Health (RCOG). The money raised from the Kilimanjaro climb will hopefully enable the RCOG to pilot a course in essential gynaecological skills in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. To support this cause transtec has donated £1000.

Read about Mark Allsopp's endeavour in the following interview: about his motivation for this trek, how he prepared for it, and how one can make donations to the RCOG's charity work.

You will be trekking up the Kilimanjaro in January: Tanzania’s almost mythic mountain of roughly 6000 metres, or over 19000 feet. Sounds like a tough climb. Why on earth are you doing this to yourself?

Kilimanjaro is indeed a high mountain and it’s certainly not going to be an easy climb. The weather conditions can vary from strong sun and high temperatures at lower altitudes, through to heavy rain and to freezing temperatures, and snow as the altitude increases. In addition to this, there’s the altitude itself with a real risk of exhaustion and altitude sickness the higher you go.

I believe that the RCOG Global health fund is a very worthwhile fund to help women and families around the world. So when the chance came up to make a difference by raising money and awareness for a good cause, it seemed an ideal opportunity.

Apart from supporting the charity, I have always wanted to do something to really push myself to the limit. To take up the challenge of hiking the Kilimanjaro certainly meets this personal aim. Since I’m not getting any younger, I figured it was a case of “now or never”.

Tell us more about the organisation you are raising funds for, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Global Health (RCOG)? Who benefits from their work? And how?

The RCOG is committed to improving women’s health globally through education, training, advocacy, setting standards and guidelines. Much of the RCOG’s global health work requires generous external funding to drive sustainable improvements in health care for women. The money raised from the Kilimanjaro climb will hopefully enable the RCOG to pilot a course in essential gynaecological skills in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The course aims to train health care workers in an often overlooked area of women’s health, e.g. gynaecological disease. The RCOG believes there should be better health care for women everywhere.

How have you been preparing yourself to meet the challenge of climbing Kilimanjaro? The air is rather thin up there, isn’t it?

With its nearly 6000 m altitude, the Kilimanjaro is certainly a challenging climb. The plan is to climb to the summit over 7 days. This has required me to increase my fitness levels and I’ve started running after I signed up. Meanwhile I’ve completed a 10 km road race and currently I am running regularly at even greater distances. In addition, I’ve been going to the gym to increase my strength and general fitness, plus I’ve been taking longer walks in all weather and climbing a number of hills and mountains in the UK and elsewhere. So far I’ve made it to the summit of Pen y Fan, Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis. I’ve climbed through the Blue Mountains in Australia and hiked a number of smaller trails to keep my levels up. While Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the UK, it reaches only 1344 metres, which is under a quarter of the height of Kilimanjaro. This means it’s very difficult to get the necessary high altitude training. Therefore dealing with the lower oxygen levels found higher up the Kilimanjaro is going to be a real challenge.

What were the reactions when your colleagues and superiors at work first heard about your project?

Most people I’ve spoken to think I’m mad to want to do this to myself, although a few have expressed how much they’d like to do something similar. One thing everyone has in common, however, has been that they are all very supportive. My employer transtec has shown this support by making the generous contribution of £1000 to RCOG as sponsorship of this climb for which I am very grateful.

How can one contribute to your effort to raise funds for the RCOG?

You can donate to raise funds for RCOG, by visiting my fundraising page which can be found at:

http://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/markallsopp

If you’re a UK tax payer, please don’t forget to gift aid any donations as this means the government will add 25 percent to your contribution.

Alternatively for larger payments or if you require confirmation of payment, you can pay the money directly into the RCOG account, for which I’m happy to provide details.

Should you wish to do so, you can e-mail me at mark.allsopp@transtec.co.uk

The destination...

Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania
Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania

The right equipment...

Hans-Jürgen Bahde, CEO of the transtec AG, hands over soft shell jacket to Mark Allsopp for his Kilimanjaro climb
Hans-Jürgen Bahde, CEO of the transtec AG, hands over soft shell jacket to Mark Allsopp for his Kilimanjaro climb

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