A Longford mother-of-two is set to take on the Pieta Challenge Kilimanjaro Climb next year to raise funds and awareness for a cause close to the hearts of many.
Joining the campaign of Enda O’Doherty, who walked from Belfast to his native Waterford with a washing machine last year, Aisling Powell will help “share the load” in July 2017 and has already started her fundraising to ensure that Pieta House can continue to help those living with mental health difficulties.
“I was familiar with Enda last year when he walked from Belfast to Waterford with the washing machine,” Aisling explained. “On Facebook, I saw the video looking for people to come along and join him in the challenge. I sat and I thought about it, and I thought; ‘I can do this, I can help’.”
Each of the thirty participants, of which Aisling is the only midlands representative, have been asked to raise €4,000, which will help Pieta House help four people. Aisling is aiming to hit that target and surpass it to help as many as she can.
Along with bucket collections and other fundraisers, the main event will see a jumble sale of sorts - dubbed The Cinderella Boutique Day - taking over the Longford Arms Hotel on Sunday, December 4.
“The idea is basically that people buy a table. 100% of the costs of the table goes to Pieta House but what they earn from the table, they keep themselves.”
Local businesses are being invited to host tables to promote their products, while locals can raid their wardrobes and sell pre-loved items to make a few extra euro ahead of the festive season.
There’ll be plenty to see and do on the day, and lots of bargains to be had.
Other than the financial preparations, Aisling is preparing herself physically for the seven-day hike.
Most days will include 5-7 hours of hiking but the second last night will see the group hike for fifteen hours.
“The hardest part will be the altitude sickness,” Aisling admitted, revealing that she has taken up weight training and cardio exercise, and likes to walk the Mall or hike with her fellow fundraisers.
She often wears a weight vest, as it reminds her of why she’s taking part.
“We want to raise awareness that it’s okay not to be okay and it’s okay to talk about it and share the load,” Aisling said, concluding by sharing the contact details of local mental health services, including Good2Talk (043 334 7477); Pieta House (1800 247 247) and Console (1800 247 247).
For more information on the December fundraiser, or to register your interest in hosting a table, search for Aisling Takes on The Pieta Challenge 2017 Kilimanjaro on Facebook. You can also donate to Aisling’s efforts, by visiting https://pieta-challenge-2017.everydayhero.com/ie/aisling-s-pieta-challenge-fund#/?_k=4bij8r