Icon Solutions’ Directors embark on their toughest challenge to date

28 August 2015

kandooI have a milestone birthday coming up in November. ‘What do you mean, 43 isn’t a milestone’ I hear you cry! But yes, the years have been kind I know, however I am about to clock up a half-century.

And by some freakish timing, my son, Jordan, turns 21 in November, and my daughter, Holly, turns 18. So last year we discussed how we’d mark this mystical alignment of milestones, and I suggested we should ‘stroll up Kilimanjaro’. Tom Kelleher (our Sales Director) did the same about ten years ago and found it to be a life affirming experience.

That said, if I’m honest, at my age waking up is all the life affirmation I need, so whilst I wanted my idea to portray me as ‘quite the adventurer’, I secretly hoped that the children would reject the plan. I certainly assumed Holly would, given that she spends her life within arms-reach of a ballet barre at all times! But she let me down, and agreed it was a good plan.

All was not lost, however, for I knew that if I keep quiet it was fairly predictable that neither of my children would actually do anything about organising a date for our trip and I could slip quietly into my old-age.

Unfortunately I mentioned my plan in passing at an Icon board meeting. Big mistake! Ben Hallifax (Operations Director) was worried that he’d be the only one on the board not to have attempted to climb Kili, and so asked if he could join us. He doesn’t qualify by right and he’s just got a ‘normal’ birthday this year, but how could I say no? The issue with an Ops Director is they never forget and they love organising stuff. And so on Saturday (22nd August) the four of us fly out to Tanzania, and start our 8-day trek up Kili on Sunday morning.

All being well we hope to reach the 5895 meter high summit in the early hours of Sunday 30th August – providing of course we can over-come the altitude sickness (which kicks in anywhere above 3500 meters) and the cold (which reaches minus 20 near the top). Oh, and I suppose we need to be able to cope with the exertion of the climb, which is made a little harder because only half of the normal number of oxygen molecules can be bothered to go up that high!

Our progress can hopefully be tracked through the trip organisers’ Facebook page. Because this venture represents a tick on each our personal ‘to-do lists’, we made a conscious decision at the outset that we would not ask or expect people to sponsorship us.

However, whilst investigating companies who could help us get to the top safely, we happened across one with a link to a children’s home in Tanzania who do tremendous work helping street children – keeping them safe and ensuring they receive an education (see Amanikids.org for more information). Icon Solutions is committed to helping charities through our Icon Foundation programme and we are therefore delighted to have arranged a donation from the Foundation to ‘the friends of Amani (UK)’, a charity set up to provide financial support for this vital work.

Upon hearing about this home some people asked if they could also make a personal donation to the charity, and so against our initial intentions we have created a JustGiving page as well. There is honestly no pressure for people to sponsor us and this blog wasn’t written to for that purpose – it was written to try and solicit messages of best wishes and abuse to spur us on (we will get the occasional internet connection for emails!). BUT if you wish to donate I’m sure the funds will be gratefully received.

Following our climb we are paying a visit to the children’s home to see their work first hand and to have lunch with and play games with the carers and children. And depending how the previous 8-days have gone, one lucky child may even inherit my walking boots! I hope to see you all on 2nd September and will try and blog some insight into on how it all went – Darren Capehorn.

Categories: Icon Foundation

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