When Jo Swerling lost her beloved dad Graham to pancreatic cancer on Christmas Eve 2013 she wanted to do something special in his honour. We asked her to share her experience in our quick-fire Q&A
Pancreatic Cancer UK: Why did you choose to take part in the Great Wall Trek for Hope?
Jo: I lost my Darling Dad aged 83,. He was a working farmer up until his diagnosis. I knew nothing about pancreatic cancer and he passed away just two months later. I miss him so much. I had done some fundraising events before but this was a major challenge as I’m afraid of heights!
Pancreatic Cancer UK: How did you prepare for the challenge?
Jo: For training I exercised by finding hills and steps nearby and simply set out! Fundraising wise I was lucky enough to get a lot of support on my Justgiving page, but I also had business cards made, told local papers, held a barn dance and had lots of cake sales. In total I raised almost £13,000. The business cards made talking about it easy. I simply asked strangers who I met out walking to take a look at my Justgiving page. I’d be happy to speak to anyone thinking about taking part about fundraising.
Pancreatic Cancer UK: What was your favourite moment of the trek?
Jo: The moment I conquered my fear of heights. I used to hate them, now I love them! I remember it was on the second day that the challenge really began and it was only down to the encouragement I received from the other trekkers that I overcame my fear. It’s all about teamwork. I knew no one on the trek before we met at the intro day in London, but I’m still in contact with them to this day.
Pancreatic Cancer UK: What would you say to anyone thinking about doing the challenge?
Jo: It’s an amazing challenge, great fun and great people, who all share one thing in common - all have been affected by pancreatic cancer.