A Liverpool fundraiser spurred on by personal tragedy is taking on a tough 250 mile cycle ride in Vietnam and Cambodia to support the hospice which cared for her daughter.
Christine Woods, a cashier at Genting Casino Renshaw Street Liverpool, has spent a whirlwind 12 months collecting £6,500 in sponsorship and donations ahead of the trip in November in aid of Zo?’s Place Baby Hospice in West Derby.
Christine, aged 38, admits she is not really a keen cyclist and she’s a nervous flier, but the challenge is a way of thanking the charity and raising awareness.
She lost her only child Joanne, at the age of four, after Joanne was born with a rare heart defect, hyperplastic left heart syndrome, which left her heart underdeveloped.
“Zo?’s Place supported and cared for Joanne and me throughout her life and they were there for me when she passed away 11 years ago. Without their support we would not have got through it. This is my way of giving something back. I know it will be a real challenge,” explained Christine.
She will join fellow supporters on 15 November for the trip to Vietnam and Cambodia which requires participants to raise a minimum £3,200. They will spend five of the ten days cycling an average of 50 miles a day, sometimes over rugged terrain.
Christine has taken part in a sponsored run, a zip wire challenge and spent a lot of time bag packing at supermarkets and collecting outside football grounds to raise funds.
Her employer Genting Casinos has provided essential medical needs such as rabies shots, malaria tablets and a first aid kit for the trip.
Gaming Manager Stephen Carrigan said: “Christine has impressed us all with her determination and hard work in raising money for a cause which is close to her heart. It is a very demanding challenge she is taking on and we wish her well.”
The group fly to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and start the cycle ride after a night’s stay there. The route will go along rural roads, past paddy fields and water buffalo and through villages and towns where they will experience a very different landscape and culture. Their first hotel in Cambodia for example has no hot water.
The final leg of the cycle journey takes them to Angkor Wat, a world heritage site with temples regarded as one of the wonders of the world.
The trip is not only a personal challenge but a way for all those involved to support Zo?’s Place. The hospice provides palliative, respite and end-of-life care to babies and infants aged from birth to five years old suffering from life-limiting or life-threatening conditions. It receives some Government funding but relies on the generosity of the public to help raise the £1.4 million a year it needs to keep running.